Lionel Messi
Barcelona star Lionel Messi is under investigation for tax evasion

A banker who killed himself in 2013 is alleged to have helped Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi evade taxes in Spain, the Daily Mail has reported.

David Waygood, who has previously worked as a banker for HSBC and Natwest, committed suicide in April last year by stepping in front of a train in Kent. He was 62.

He was the sole director of a company called Sidefloor Limited from 2007 until his death. All shares were held anonymously by a nominee company. Spanish prosecutors are trying to link Messi's tax affairs with Waygood's shell company.

Waygood left a note for his wife and children explaining that the stress he was under had become too much to bear.

Lionel Messi and his father Jorge are accused of defrauding the Spanish authorities of more than £3.1m between 2006 and 2009, via the alleged filing of fraudulent tax returns relating to companies in the UK, Switzerland and Belize.

Forbes reports that Messi earns £23.5m ($40m, €29.5m) a year, making him the fourth highest earning sportsperson in the world. 

In the football world, only Real Madrid and Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo earns more, while basketball player LeBron James and boxer Floyd Mayweather also take home larger pay packets.

Messi appeared in court in Gava, near Barcelona, in September 2013. The Messi family members deny attempting to defraud Spanish tax authorities.