Alexis Sanchez’s agent Fernando Felicevich has insisted that his client has committed no crime after the 29-year-old accepted a 16-month suspended jail sentence for tax fraud.
The Chile international faced going to trial for unpaid taxes amounting to around £886,000 from a series of image rights deals in 2012 and 2013.
He has accepted a 16-month suspended jail sentence in exchange for avoiding a wearisome trial and will most likely have to hand over a large wad of money as well.
And Felicevich, speaking soon after the verdict was reached by the court, insisted that Sanchez had only accepted the “unfair pact” in order to avoid a time-consuming trial.
“In these circumstances, and despite having shown that Alexis has not committed any crime, we have been forced, on the recommendation of our advisers, to accept the unfair pact offered and thus alleviate the emotional, personal and economic wear and tear that endures long and tedious oral trials, where the media are used to publicly expose and judge facts of private nature,” he said.
Sanchez is by no means the first footballer who, during his time in Spain, fell into a spot of bother over taxes. Luka Modric, for example, had to pay 1m euro to settle an image rights tax case of his own last year, while Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have also faced similar tax charges, prompting the latter to express a desire to leave Spain over the summer.
Even Jose Mourinho had to visit court in Spain this season over financial matters but later insisted that he wasn’t there for any particular wrongdoing.
The tax system in Spain appears to be quite porous to say the least, especially for those in the highest band, and you can only wonder whether the players themselves even know that they’re doing anything wrong.