Alexis Sanchez's agent has denied his client has comitted any wrongdoing in an alleged attempt to avoid tax payments during his time at Barcelona. Fernando Felicevich confirmed that the Spanish prosecutors have opened an investigation into the Arsenal star, but added that the Chilean has declared and paid all his income.
Catalan-based publication El Periodico broke on Tuesday evening (1 November) that Spanish prosecutors have accused Sanchez of attempting to avoid paying a total of €983,443 (£886,233) during 2012 and 2013, when the current Arsenal star was still playing for Barcelona.
The prosecutors, according to El Periodico, stated that the former Barcelona star avoided paying the Spanish revenue a total sum of €983,443 – €587,677 in 2012 and a further €395,766 a year later – by ceding the rights to an off-shore company called 'Numidia Trading', located in Malta.
Sanchez's agent has confirmed throw an statement in his Twitter account that the investigation is eventually ongoing. However Felicevich defended the innocence of the Arsenal star, saying that all the problems are motivated on an interpretative change in criteria of the Spanish regulation.
The agent of the Arsenal star pointed out during the statement that his client is the latest player affected by this change in criteria.
Lionel Messi, Javier Mascherano, Adriano and Samuel Eto'o, who play or have played for Barcelona in recent years, have also been involved in similar problem with the Spanish tax office.
In July the Barcelona high court handed a 21-month prison sentence to both Messi and his father, following their alleged attempts to avoid €4.1m (£3.5m, $4.5m) in tax on earnings, using off-shore companies located in Belize and Uruguay between 2007 and 2009.
Meanwhile, Mascherano earlier this year also received a one-year prison sentence a €815,000 fine for a tax case. However, as with Messi, the former Liverpool star served no jail time due to Spanish statutes on non-violent crimes.
The statement by Alexis Sanchez's agent read:
"1. Alexis Sanchez has fully complied with each and every law in all the countries he has resided in, so he has paid all the taxes to the relevant local authorities. Likewise, all his personal income and the ones related to his image right have been declared to the different national authorities.
"2. The declaration from the Spanish revenue office is based on an interpretative change in criteria of the Spanish regulation that allows the payment of image rights to athletes through a company, as long as it doesn't exceed the 15% of the total payment made by the club. Now the Spanish revenue office understands all income needs to be assigned in full to the physic person despite of the recognition of the tax law and the collective bargaining agreement of said percentage"
"3. This new interpretation (of the law) is affecting the way of declaring the income from image rights received or receive by athletes from their clubs in Spain, being Alexis another one of the players affected by this change in criteria.
"4. Alexis has declared and paid all perceived income. The eventual unfulfilment – that any case should be confirmed - has been motivated by the tax payments to revenues other than the Spanish, which has not recognized the validity of such payments, despite they are far superior than the ones stipulated by the Spanish legislation.
"Please finally we ask the press and public opinion the greatest respect until the completion of all the administrative and judicial proceeding."