Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez has been accused by the Barcelona public prosecutor of evading more than €900,000 in tax, according to a report in Spain.
Sanchez, who played for Barcelona for three years from 2011, is alleged to have defrauded the Spanish Treasury by an amount totalling €983,443 in 2012 and 2013.
According to El Peridodico de Catalunya, a criminal complaint has been raised against the 27-year-old by prosecutor Miguel Angel Perez de Gregorio over a failure to pay tax on image rights.
It is claimed that Sanchez simulated the transfer of those rights to Numidia Trading, a company listed as being based in Malta, and failed to declare his earnings in full.
According to the report, the prosecutor’s official complaint accuses Sanchez of “simulating” the transfer of his image rights to a company described as a “purely instrumental entity” used to facilitate “fraud committed against the Spanish Treasury”.
It is also alleged that Sanchez signed a contract with Barcelona in July 2011 in which he declared that he was the owner of his image rights, when in fact he had apparently transferred those rights to a company called Inversiones Alsan in Chile in 2008 – of which he owns 99 per cent – before they were moved to Numidia three years later.
Sanchez, who is yet to comment on the claims, is not the first player to be involved in tax fraud allegations while playing for Barcelona.
Lionel Messi and his father, Jorge, were found guilty of defrauding Spanish tax authorities of €4.1million this year. The Argentina star was given a 21-month suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay €1.7m in fines, having made a voluntary repayment of €5.1m in August 2013, although both have persistently denied wrongdoing.
Javier Mascherano was also given a suspended prison sentence of one year after admitting to two counts of tax fraud relating to a failure to declare earnings from image rights between 2011 and 2012. He repaid his debt in full and paid a fine before his punishment.
Sanchez, who left Barca for Arsenal in 2014, started the Gunners’ 3-2 Champions League victory over Ludogorets on Tuesday.