SpainsSupremeCourtonWednesdayrejectedanappealbyBarcelonasoccerstarLionelMessiandstoodbyaCatalanregionalcourts21-monthprisonsentencefortaxfraud,courtdocumentsshowed。

Thefive-timesWorldPlayeroftheYearisunlikelytogotoprison,however。

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MessiandhisfatherJorgewerefoundguiltybyaCatalancourtlastJulyonthreecountsoftaxfraudbetween2007and2009tothetuneof4。

1millioneurosonimagerightsandwerealsofined2millioneuros($2。

24million)。

ThecourtreducedJorgeMessissentencefrom21monthsto15,however,forreturningthedefraudedamounttoSpainstaxauthority。

NeitherMessinorhisfatherareexpectedtoservetimeinjail,asunderSpanishlawsentencesundertwoyearscanbeservedunderprobation。

AcourtstatementsaidMessiunequivocallyunderstoodhisobligationtopaytaxonincomeobtainedfromexploitinghisimagerightsthereforeitisnotlogicalthatheshouldignorehisdutytopaytaxonthem。

TheSupremeCourtsrulingbringsanendtoacasewhichbeganin2013。

Messi,29,andhisfatherdefraudedtheSpanishtaxofficeof4。

1millioneurosbetween2007and2009byusingawebofshellcompaniesbasedinBelize,SwitzerlandandUruguaytoevadetaxesonincomefromtheplayersimagerights。

Messi,whohaswoneightLaLigatitles,fourKingsCupsandfourChampionsLeaguecrownswithBarcelona,finishedtopscorerinSpainthisseasonwith37leaguegoals。

HeissettoplayintheKingsCupfinalnextSaturdayinMadrid,thelastgameofthedomesticseason。

MessiisBarcelonasall-timetopscorerandtheirhighestpaidplayer。

HeisexpectedtosignanewcontractwiththeCatalanclublaterthissummer,withhiscurrentdealexpiringinJune2018。

Messislawyerwasnotavailableforcomment。