MADRID (AP) — A fraud lawsuit against Lionel Messi for $5.3 million in unpaid income tax was lodged Wednesday by a Spanish state prosecutor.

The prosecutor also brought a lawsuit against the Barcelona star's father, Jorge Horacio Messi.

Both are accused of three offenses against the public purse for allegedly defrauding millions on income tax returns for 2007, 2008 and 2009.

The complaint, signed by prosecutor Raquel Amado, was submitted for trial at the courthouse in Gava, the upscale Barcelona suburb where the Argentina forward lives.

A judge at the courthouse must accept the prosecutor's lawsuit before charges can be brought against Messi and his father.

Barcelona declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Messi had the day off Wednesday after playing for his national team in Quito, where Argentina was held to a 1-1 tie by Ecuador on Tuesday night in a qualifying match for the World Cup.

Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella has said Messi was expected to be in the lineup for an exhibition against Guatemala on Friday.

 

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