Samuel Eto'o handed a 22-month suspended prison sentence for £3m tax fraud

Samuel Eto'o has admitted tax fraud of £3.32million during his time at Barcelona. The 41-year-old did not declare the transfer of image rights as personal income.

Samuel Eto’o was sentenced to a 22-month suspended prison sentence for a £3.32 million tax scam.

The former Barcelona and Inter Milan striker admitted to the crime, but claims that his former agent Jose Maria Mesalles manipulated him.

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.

Instead, he taxed the image rights through two firms, one in Hungary and the other in Spain, to avoid being overtaxed.

In a statement, the 41-year-old said he would repay all of the money but sought to put responsibility on Mesalles, who he viewed as a father at the time of the offences.

‘It was my father who took care of the child I was then,’ Eto’o said. ‘I’m going to pay but I’ve always done what my father told me I had to do.’

At the time of the offenses, Eto’o was 25 years old and in the middle of his time at the Nou Camp.

The prosecution sought four years and six months in prison for Eto’o and Mesalles, before the former was sentenced to 22 months and the latter to one year. They will not be sentenced to prison because neither has a criminal record.

Mesalles will pay £776,000 and the former Cameroon international will pay an additional sum of £1.56 million in fines.

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