Alexis Sanchez Heavily Fined, but Will Avoid Prison for Tax Fraud

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Alexis Sanchez became one of the highest paid players in history when he moved from Arsenal to Manchester United. He’s going to need that money now as he’s accepted a 16-month suspended prison sentence (although he will avoid serving time) and a fine of €590,065 (£524,575) for tax fraud in Spain.

Sanchez, during his days with Barcelona, was able to avoid paying about $1.2 million in taxes on his image rights, due to his representatives laundering the money through a shell company in Malta. This white collar crime was committed in 2012-13. With the sentence being less than two years and for a first time offense, the prison sentence is therefore suspended under Spanish law.

Fernando Felicevich, the agent of Alexis Sanchez, has released the following statement.

Translating it to English, it reads:

“The prosecution and the Spain tax office have put more than 30 footballers in this exact same situation, accusing them of the same fraud and threatening them with prison sentences.

“The repeated, continuous and obscene filtering of information during the investigation process has been a violation of the rights of those being processed and are a method of pressuring the players to accept agreements, like that of today, which was leaked to the media.

“On many occasions, there has been no other option but to give in to the pressure and to avoid even greater injustice by accepting unjust agreements like the one accepted today.

“This is what many players and coaches have had to and will continue to have to do. With these circumstances and despite the fact that Alexis has shown that he has committed no crime, we have been obligated, by recommendation of our advisers, to accept a settlement that is not just.

“After seeing the long drawn out process to which players such as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, etc. have been subjected, we have determined that it is better to accept an unfair deal so that we can turn the page rather than continue to be subjected to media and political pressure.”

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Under Spanish law, only prison sentences that exceed 24 months are actually met with incarceration for the offender. However, Alexis could do time if he commits this crime again.

Sanchez and his lawyers have agreed to pay back all the money, plus interest to the government. Alexis Sanchez becomes the latest in a string for superstar football figures to be hit with massive fines by the Spanish government over tax fraud concerning earnings off image rights. The list includes Lionel Messi, Javier Mascherano, Christiano Ronaldo and Jose Mourinho.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.

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