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Messi prison sentence lifted in exchange for money

Barcelona & Argentina star Lionel Messi

Spain, Madrid: A Spanish court said on Friday it has exchanged a 21-month prison sentence handed to Soccer player Lionel Messi for tax fraud last July for a quarter-of-a-million-euro fine.

The Barcelona maestro and his father were found guilty by a Catalan court last year of three counts of tax fraud to the tune of R63 million ($4.68 million) over income earned from image rights.

The father also had his 15-month sentence exchanged for a fine of 180,000 euros, the court said.

Neither Messi or his father would have served time in jail following the original ruling as defendants without a previous conviction are permitted to serve any sentence of under two years on probation.