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Spanish Court Drops Fraud, Money Laundering Complaint Against Lionel Messi

Argentina's Lionel Messi at the Copa America (AP)

Argentina's Lionel Messi at the Copa America (AP)

The complainant alleged the fund received by Lionel Messi’s charity organisation was diverted for private activities instead of social causes.

A Spanish court has now dismissed a new complaint, on July 16, filed in 2020 against Barcelona’s Lionel Messi by a man who had levied allegations against the Argentine footballer of fraud, embezzlement and money laundering.

Federico Rettori, an Argentine who resided in Spain claims he formerly worked for Messi’s charity, had filed a similar complaint back in 2019 which was also dismissed.

In the claim, the man said that the funds received by the foundation which “should have been directed to social causes” instead went “towards various private activities or bank accounts that differed from those that were declared by the foundation.”

In this complaint that Rettori filed in 2020 he once again named the Barcelona striker, the charity, his father Jorge, and brother Rodrigo, and then went on to add further documents to back his claims.

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However, Spain’s National Court held Messi had nothing to do with the allegations. “After two years of investigation no criminal activity on the part of the people targeted by the complaint could be proven,” the court held.

The court went on to say that Rettori was never employed by Messi’s foundation.

Rettori also headed an association named “El Buen Camino“, or “The Right Path“, and this organisation received 150,000 euros ($177,000) in 2014 and 2015 to reduce infant mortality rate in Sierra Leone, West Africa, the court further added. The plug was pulled on the project when the Ebola epidemic broke out in the West African country.

The court also observed that the person who made the allegations against Messi has a history of doing such things. This time the incident seems to be completely motivated.

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first published:July 19, 2021, 11:29 IST