Samuel Eto’o accepted a suspended 22-month prison sentence and a fine of just over 1.8 million euros for tax evasion, but insisted he had been manipulated by his former agent.
The Cameroonian was found to have failed to declare income from the transfer of his image rights to sponsor Puma and Barcelona, his club at the time, in his tax returns between 2006 and 2009. A Spanish court ruled that he illegally taxed his image rights through two companies so he wouldn’t have to pay so much.
Eto’o agreed to pay his fine but alleged that his ex-agent, Jose Maria Mesalles, cheated on him, commenting: “It was my father who took care of the child that I was then. I’m going to pay but I’ve always done what my dad told me to do.”
Mesalles will pay a fine of just over €900,000, while he was also sentenced to a year in prison.
However, since neither Eto’o nor Mesalles have a criminal record and the sentences were less than two years, their prison terms were suspended.
Eto’o spent the majority of his playing days in Spain, playing for Leganes, Real Madrid, Espanyol, Mallorca and Barcelona in the first 12 years of his career.
He signed for Barca in 2004 and went on to score 130 goals in 199 games for the Catalan side, including helping them win two Champions League titles.