Barcelona footballer Lionel Messi used UK firms to avoid £3 million in tax, Spanish prosecutors have alleged.
Barcelona and Argentina footballer Messi and his father are being investigated in Spain for allegedly defrauding the state of more than €4 million (£3 million) in tax.
Documents recently filed with spanish courts alleged the footballer used a string of companies, including UK firms, through which income from his image rights was routed, before making its way to Uruguay and Belize, according to The Times.
According to the paper the companies were registered to nominee owners and shareholders. It said prosecutors claim the pair used this to hide the fact the player was the 'recipient and beneficiary' of the income.
However, Messi has already said he and his father 'never committed any infringement' and 'always fulfilled our tax obligations', the paper said.
Messi is the latest football star to get caught up in tax controversy, with likes of David Beckham and Gary Lineker among a host of high profile figures using film investment schemes to minimise their tax burden.