Barcelona player Javier Mascherano has been sentenced to one-year in prison on Thursday for not paying €1.5m in taxes for 2011 and 2012 in Spain. He was also fined €800,000 (£611,000) and will not receive any tax benefits for a year .
Mascherano is not expected to serve any time in jail, the prison sentence is expected to be replaced by another fine or dismissed entirely.
The Barcelona defender released a statement via his Twitter account read his statement below...
Today I have reached an agreement with the Spanish tax authorities, with a firm verdict agreed by all parties. Thus, with a resolution now for the legal matters and with the relief of having sorted my tax situation, I would like to make a brief statement.
After agreeing my move to Barcelona I contracted a specialist tax agency with well-known professionals that enjoy a great reputation. According to my situation they recommended me certain structures, all within the law, telling me that they were normal, transparent and accepted procedures.
I was assessed by these professionals from 2010 to 2014 I decided to change agency because of the proceedings I was facing, and with evidence that the problems may not be 'potential' but in fact very real. My new agency recommended that I pay the tax authorities the money they were claiming, presenting also a corrective payment.
Now, finally, after a long wait this agreement has arrived which allows me to relax again and go about my daily life.
I'm a professional sportsman and I don't know a lot about legal and financial matters.
Therefore I must rely on the people that manage these technical, and for me, complicated, issues.
All my career I have been an honest and responsible person... I will take this experience that has accosted me as another experience which I will leave stronger and calmed by the fact that I am once again within the law.