Samuel Eto’o joins Lionel Messi, Neymar and Javier Mascherano as Barca players who have had a run-in with the law over their finances. The African player could face up to 10 years in prison as well as a massive fine for defrauding the authorities during his time in Spain.
Eto’o is facing charges of tax fraud for his financial dealings between 2006 and 2009 when he was on the books of Barcelona Apart from the 10-year prison sentence, Spanish prosecutors are also demanding that Eto’o, who currently plays for Turkish side Antalyaspor, be handed a €14 million (£12 million) fine.
He committed tax fraud to the tune of €3.46 million (R52 million) through complicated image rights deals. He allegedly ran two companies — Bulte 2002 in Spain and Tradesport in Hungary — and this allowed him to transfer his image rights between the two and avoid having to pay tax. Eto’o’s sentence is so high because he is accused of four cases of tax fraud (€500 000 in 2006, €900 000 in 2007, €1.1 million in 2008 and €900 000 in 2009), and – unlike other players who have been charged similar incidents – he has not returned the money.