Former Chelsea and Barcelona forward Samuel Eto’o has been hit with a 22-month suspended prison sentence and a fine for tax fraud. The Cameroonian legend has pleaded guilty with prosecutors to avoid going to jail, and will not serve any time as per the laws in Spain for non-violent crime.
The prosecutors said that Eto’o failed to declare the amount earned from the transfer of image rights between 2006 and 2009. He had transferred his image rights to a company in Hungary, where the tax rate is very low. They declared his earnings in that country, and as a result, didn’t pay the Spanish tax authorities the amount they were actually due.
Samuel Eto’o punished for image rights fraud
However, the Cameroonian football board president was actually the true holder of the image rights. The transfer was fraudulent and only in place to evade taxes.
“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,” Samuel Eto’o told the court.
The 41-year-old will pay a fine worth €1.8 million for his offence, while his former agent will pay €700,000. Mesalles has also been given a 12-month suspended prison sentence for his involvement in the tax fraud.