Soccer-Eto’o avoids prison in Spain after admitting 3.8 million euro tax fraud

BARCELONA, Spain (Reuters) – Former Cameroon striker Samuel Eto’o was handed a 22-month suspended prison sentence by a Spanish court on Monday after admitting tax fraud of 3.8 million euros ($4.00 million) while he was playing for Barcelona.

Eto’o agreed to pay a fine of 1.8 million euros and the 3.8 million in tax owed from image rights between 2006 and 2009.

“I admit the facts and I am going to pay what I’m due, but let it be known that I was a just a child then and that I always did what my former agent Jose Maria Mesalles, who I considered like a father, asked me to do at that time,” Eto’o, who is now 41, told the court in Barcelona on Monday.

Mesalles was given a one-year suspended jail term.

The prosecution had requested prison sentences of four years and six months each for Eto’o and Mesalles.

The sentences were suspended as neither Eto’o nor Mesalles have a criminal record and the terms are under two years.

($1 = 0.9508 euros)

(Reporting by Fernando Kallas; Editing by Ken Ferris)



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