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Barcelona Legend Samuel Eto'o Handed 22-Month Suspended Prison Sentence In Spain For Tax Evasion

Rory O'Callaghan

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Barcelona Legend Samuel Eto'o Handed 22-Month Suspended Prison Sentence In Spain For Tax Evasion

Samuel Eto'o has been handed a 22-month suspended prison sentence in Spain after pleading guilty to tax fraud.

The former Barcelona striker, 41, has admitted defrauding the Spanish treasury of €3,872,621 (£3,329,428) between 2006 and 2009 during his time at the Nou Camp.

Eto'o failed to declare income from the transfer of his image rights between Puma and Barcelona.

Eto'o has pleaded guilty to tax evasion in Spain (Image: PA)
Eto'o has pleaded guilty to tax evasion in Spain (Image: PA)

Instead, he taxed the image rights through two separate companies set up in Hungary and Spain which limited his costs, according to Spanish publication Sport.

Eto'o blamed his former agent Jose Maria Mesalles, who has also been given a one-year suspended prison sentence, for the tax evasion.

In a statement in court, Eto'o referred to Mesalles as a father figure, without directly naming him.

"It was my father who took care of the child I was then," Eto'o said.

"I'm going to pay but I've always done what my father told me I had to do."

Eto'o has partially repaid the tax he owes and has been ordered to pay a further £1.5m in fines.

Eto'o played for Barcelona, Inter Milan and Chelsea during his career (Image: PA)
Eto'o played for Barcelona, Inter Milan and Chelsea during his career (Image: PA)

The prison sentences handed to Eto'o and Mesalles have both been suspended as neither of the men has previous criminal convictions in Spain.

SPORTbible has contacted Eto'o for comment.

Eto'o was one of the most gifted strikers of his generation.

He played for Barcelona between 2004 and 2009, scoring 130 goals in 199 games for the Catalan club.

The Cameroon international won the Champions League twice and La Liga three times with Barcelona before leaving for Inter Milan in 2009.

In total, he scored 371 goals in 764 club appearances over the course of his career as well as 56 goals in 118 international caps, winning African Player of the Year in 2004 and 2005.

Featured Image Credit: PA Images

Topics: Samuel Etoo, Football, Barcelona, La Liga

Rory O'Callaghan
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