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Mascherano to appear in court on tax fraud charges

Mascherano to appear in court on tax fraud charges

BARCELONA (Reuters) – Barcelona’s Argentina international Javier Mascherano has been ordered to appear in court on Oct. 29 to answer charges of two counts of defrauding the Spanish tax authorities of a total of more than 1.5 million euros ($1.67 million).

A court in Gava near the Catalan capital has decided to proceed with the case after the charges were announced by the public prosecutor on Monday and has called Mascherano to testify, according to a statement on Thursday.

Mascherano, who joined Barca from English club Liverpool in August 2010, is alleged to have sought to conceal earnings from his image rights by using companies set up in the United States and Portugal, the prosecutor’s office said.

The 31-year-old is accused of defrauding the authorities of 587,822.01 euros in 2011 and 968,907.76 in 2012, they added.

Mascherano, who has made no public comment on the charges, last month paid the money owed plus almost 200,000 euros interest, the office said, and local media have reported this could work in his favour if he is found guilty.

Barca have not responded to a request for comment sent on Monday after the charges were announced.

($1 = 0.8970 euros)

(Reporting by Iain Rogers, editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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