Tax Fraud: Samuel Eto’o Pleads Guilty To Avoid Prison2 min read
After admitting to defrauding the Public Treasury of 3,872,621 euros between 2006 and 2009, former FC Barcelona footballer Samuel Eto’o Fils and his former representative José Mara Mesalles accepted terms of 22 months and one year in prison, respectively, on Monday.
In his statement to the Criminal Court number 11 in Barcelona, Eto’o agreed to the fraud but blamed it on Mesalles, whom he has always described as “a second father” to him.
In fact, the former Cameroonian footballer filed a case against his former agent for suspected crimes of fraud and embezzlement in the management of his assets, which is still being investigated.
“I understand the facts and I will pay,” Samuel Eto’o stated, “but let it be known that I was a child at the time and that I always did what my father requested me to do.”
In a conformity trial in which the third accused, Jess Lastre, administrator of one of the instrumental businesses used in the scam, was acquitted, Mesalles chose not to testify before confessing the facts.
The prosecution sought 4 years and 6 months in prison for Eto’o and Mesalles in their indictment, but the terms were eventually lowered to 22 months for the former player, as the author of four crimes against the public Treasury, and one year for his former agent.
Similarly, the former African striker was ordered to pay four fines totaling 1,810,310 euros, one for each offense, and his former representative was ordered to pay another four fines totaling 905,155 euros.
The sentences, which will be postponed because none of them has a prior criminal record, have been softened by the Public Prosecutor’s Office, which acknowledged both the facts and partially rectified the damage by returning a portion of the scammed money.
Between 2006 and 2009, Eto’o failed to register money from the transfer of image rights to Puma and Barcelona on his personal income tax return, resulting in the fraud.