Spanish prosecutors are believed to be seeking a 10-year prison sentence and a fine of more than €18 million for Samuel Eto’o over alleged tax fraud.
According to reports in EFE and El Pais, the ex-Cameroon international and his former adviser, Josep Maria Mesalles, are accused of defrauding the state of €3.8 million from 2006 to 2009, during his five-year stay at Barcelona.
The charges relate to the alleged transfer of image rights to companies in Spain and Hungary to escape paying tax on endorsement deals, including the striker’s lucrative arrangement with sportswear manufacturer, Puma.
Prosecutors filed a lawsuit against Eto’o, who now plays for Turkish Super Lig club, Antalyaspor, on those grounds in 2012.
Unlike other LaLiga players embroiled in recent Spanish tax problems, the 35-year-old is understood to have not returned any of the alleged missing payments, precluding the mitigation of any potential punishment.
Eto’o, who has since fallen out with Mesalles, has issued a statement blaming the issue on “unfair and fraudulent advice” provided by the representative.
In July 2013, a judge upheld a suit brought by Eto’o against Mesalles, which accused the agent of stripping the player of much of the wealth he accumulated throughout his career.