How accountable is Messi for his tax troubles?

FC Barcelona and Argentina football star Lionel Messi says he has no involvement in his financial affairs.

Messi is on trial in Spain for alleged tax fraud. Together with his father, the record-breaking footballer is accused of defrauding Spain of 4.1 million Euros.

It is alleged that Messi and his father used tax havens to conceal his image rights earnings.

Speaking at his trial on Thursday, Messi says that he knew nothing about how his finances were being managed, as he was focused on playing football.

Ettiene Retief, Chairperson of the Tax Committee for the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA), says that although it is common for high-earning sports personalities to let other people handle their tax affairs, ignorance is not an excuse for tax offences.

Listen to the conversation below:

Most tax authorities aren't really keen to put someone in jail for purposes of tax. At the end of the day, they want to make sure you pay your fair share

Ettiene Retief, Chairperson of the Tax Committee for the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA)

When you're dealing with tax fraud, it's beyond just collecting taxes. It is also the case of fraud one has to deal with

Ettiene Retief, Chairperson of the Tax Committee for the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA)

It's a common thing for sports people, actors and actresses to leave their tax affairs to other people. The problem from a legal perspective is that ignorance is not an excuse

Ettiene Retief, Chairperson of the Tax Committee for the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA)

If Messi is found guilty, he could face up to 22 months in jail for fraud

Ettiene Retief, Chairperson of the Tax Committee for the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA)

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