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August 2021

Barcelona in a (little) immoral kidnapping scandal. Plus Messi in a mess.

By Tony Attwood

A short while back Barcelona signed a nine-year-old player from Sweden.   Zico Junior Marecaldi.  He was with BK Olympic.

They paid no compensation.

This is the same club that has often called Arsenal “immoral” for signing their 16 year old players with compensation.   They did it over Cesc – whose transfer to Arsenal was called “kidnapping” – which presumably means, if that was kidnapping, so was the signing of the nine year old.

They also made a fuss about Jon Toral – for whom they got £300,000 from Arsenal, and for numerous players before that.

Just so we are clear about this, in 2011 a Barcelona spokesperson said,  “There are two philosophies: ours is to invest in our academy; the other is to fish all over Europe for kids like Arsenal do. It’s legal, but a little immoral.”

Still Barcelona can hide that sort of thing – especially when your top player is worshipped on his way to court for the latest round of his tax scandal and you need to manage that.  After all there is only so much you can do when you are not allowed to photocopy in colour.  (That’s a reference to the last time they went bust and couldn’t pay their players… don’t worry, its just a passing gibe.)

Anyway, at the moment Messi the Younger and Messi the Elder are accused of defrauding the state of £3.5m or thereabouts in tax payments made from personal endorsements of  Adidas, PepsiCo, and Procter & Gamble and some others.

Jorge Messi said it was all a big mistake and his son was just a footballer.

“The Messi family has always wanted to act with transparency, clarity and to collaborate [with the court], and it was the same today,” added his lawyer, Cristóbal Martell.  Not least because Messi plays for a club that would never engage in kidnapping.  (No sorry he didn’t say that, that’s me).

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Anyway, the allegation is about the old tax dodge of setting up companies in other countries and pushing the deals through them, and then moving the money back into Argentina in order to invest in various construction projects in areas where there is no tax to be paid because the country’s development has hit the buffers..

Lionel Messi paid back £4.2m to the Spanish state last August and then another £8.4m in back taxes owed for 2010-2011.

Unfortunately Messi the Elder then said, “We have always fulfilled our tax obligations following the advice of our tax consultants who will take care of clarifying this situation.”

Well yes, but paying late when the cops are after you isn’t really what that statement seems to suggest.

Messi earns around £13.4m a year from Barcelona, and probably the same amount again from endorsements, so he can probably afford the payments.

Meanwhile the 20 clubs of La Liga over £580m in unpaid taxes, but there is still a slowness in going after them as politicians who do this then tend to be voted out of office in their locality.  Unemployment is 26% however and slowly the views in Spain are changing.  Rivaldo and Luis Figo are facing tax cases from earlier eras.

So things are on the move – the number of tax inspections is about double that of last year, so maybe we’ll see a little more activity in the future.  Who knows who they will turn up next.

See also…

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13 comments to Barcelona in a (little) immoral kidnapping scandal. Plus Messi in a mess.

  • Va Cong

    Hey Tony how about red nose funguson tax? And his golden generation team Howard web et el with their bonuses do they get taxed? Or has dirty arry catnap along with his dog doing the tax returns?

  • Jax

    Are we in some sort of pissing contest with Barca? Or have you nothing of interest to say about Arsenal today?

  • colario

    @jax. Pathetic.

  • marcus

    It is good that he is investing in his country’s infrastructure, whether purely for profit or partly because he wants to create jobs for others, we don’t know.

    The authorities are probably pissed off that he isn’t pissing it against the wall on cocaine and hookers, like a proper megastar.

  • marcus

    and bearing in mind the Spanish government’s proclivity for stealing from people’s pensions, I am not sure I particularly care about this story

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Children may be deductible ,but they are still taxing !
    One can be born free and then be taxed to death !
    There is no tax on brains ; the take would be too small !
    A fool and his money are soon parted. The rest of us wait until income tax time !
    When it comes to income tax , its better to give than deceive!
    Nothing makes a person more modest about their income than to fill out a tax form !
    Death and taxes are inevitable , but death doesn’t repeat itself !

    Q: What is Grammar?
    A: The difference between knowing your shit, and knowing you’re shit.

    Q: What does a mathematician do about constipation?
    A: He works it out with a pencil.

    Q: Why do they never serve beer at a math party?
    A: Because you can’t drink and derive…

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Marcus @ 11:04am – When you’re bad , you are good !

  • ARSENAL 13

    @Marcus, Construction and infrastructure are completely different. Well, therez nothing wrong in him investing in construction industry, so as to protect his future. But evading tax is not a good thing.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Pledge of Obedience

    I pledge obedience, to the bureaucrats, who are the United States government. And to their salaries, for which I pay. One nation, deep in debt, irresponsible, with the slavery of income taxation for all.

    — Tomas Estrada-Palma

  • marcus

    Isn’t income tax actually against the US constitution?

    @Arsenal13 Did I say otherwise? Tax Evasion is illegal; you have made it a moral issue.

    Love the humour as always Brickfields

  • Brickfields Gunners

    It’s hard to believe America was founded to avoid high taxation.

    The fourth of July, 1776 – that’s when we declared our freedom from unfair British taxation. Then, in 1777, we started our own system of unfair taxation.

    The ideal form of taxation is the kind that will be paid by somebody else. Our forefathers should have fought for representation without taxation!

    In two hundred years we’ve gone from taxation without representation to taxation without relaxation.

    The greatest general to emerge from any war is general taxation.

  • marcus

    They don’t need to bother with tax anymore; QE has the same effect.

  • Rufusstan

    @Marcus — maybe the Spanish government preferred he give them the money he owed, so they could spend it on infrastructure (or pay back some of the missing pension pot)

    @Brickfields — The idea that the colonists rebelled because our elected idiots taxed them and they had no say in the matter, fills my heart with hope for Humanity.

    The fact that when they won, they elected their own idiots and let them tax them, simply restores my faith in the nature of the universe 🙂