Prosecutors in Spain have been casting their net over La Liga’s top footballers in a bid to clamp down on potential tax loopholes, with top names like Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano falling fowl to investigations. Now, Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez finds himself in similar difficulties.
The Chile international played in La Liga for Barcelona between 2011 and 2014 before a big money move to the Premier League and Arsenal before the start of the 2014/15 season.
It is his time with the Catalan giants that has led prosecutors to level accusations of tax evasion to the sum of almost €1 million between 2012 and 2013. According to reports by Goal, via El Periodico, the figure identified comes from unpaid image rights taxes.
It is reported that Sanchez transferred his image rights to a company called Numidia Trading. While there is nothing wrong with doing this, the problems arise from the fact that the Arsenal star actually owned 99% of the company but failed to make that declaration.
In addition, Sanchez’s image rights were previously with a Chile based company called Inversiones Alsan. Investigations have revealed that the player was again a 99% stakeholder.
These revelations have led Spanish prosecutors to file criminal proceedings against the 27-year-old, alleging that Numidia Trading is a company that facilitates tax evasion.
While criminal proceedings of this nature come with potential custodial sentences, in Spain there is a precedent where the guilty party can make right any tax liabilities, in addition to penalties, in order to avoid jail time.
Lionel Messi reportedly did just that in recent months when he, along with his father, were found guilty of tax evasion by Spanish authorities.
It remains to be seen whether Sanchez will face a similar legal determination. However it must be assumed that if he is, he will follow suit and make a settlement in lieu of a spell behind bars.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena