Sport

Eto’o Faces 10-Year Jail Sentence For ‘Fraud’

Samuel Eto'o

Spanish prosecutors have asked that Cameroonian football great Samuel Eto’o be handed a 10-year jail sentence and pay a 14.3-million-euro ($15 million) fine for alleged tax fraud, a court filing revealed Thursday. 

They allege that Eto’o — now at Antalyaspor in Turkey — set up front companies to avoid paying taxes from 2006 to 2009, when he was a striker at Barcelona before leaving for Inter Milan.

The fraud, they say, amounts to some 3.9 million euros.

“The footballer pretended he had ceded his rights to two other companies in Hungary and Spain so as to fraudulently avoid paying taxes,” they added in accusations seen by AFP calling for Eto’o to be tried.

The income diverted to the company based in Hungary wasn’t taxed in Spain, and benefitted from the eastern European country’s low tax rate, prosecutors said.

The money put in the Spanish firm, meanwhile, was taxed at a lower rate as it came under the regime of company — rather than income — taxation.

Prosecutors estimate the footballer, a four-time former African Player of the Year, should reimburse the alleged fraud to tax authorities plus interest, and pay a 14.3-million-euro fine.

They want a prison sentence of 18 months for the 2006 fraud, and then three years jail for each subsequent year until 2009, which adds up to 10-and-a-half years.

Even if he is given the full sentence, though, he is unlikely to spend all that time in jail, given prisoners often get paroled for good behaviour.

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