Barcelona star Javier Mascherano has admitted defrauding the Spanish tax authorities over £1.08m ($1.64m) in his income tax declarations of 2011 and 2012, according to reports in Spain. The former Liverpool and West Ham United midfielder recognised his wrongdoing during a briefly declaration at the court on 29 October as, according to a judicial source cited by AS, "Mascherano admitted the facts of the two counts of tax fraud, so there was no need to interrogate him".
The Argentina international has been under investigation by the Spanish prosecutor in recent months after being accused of failing to declare his earning of 2011 and 2012 properly by ceding his image rights to companies he owns in Portugal and the US.
AS points out that in September, the former Liverpool star deposited £1.08m to repay the amount owed plus an extra amount in interest and penalty charges. Since he has admitted his guilt, he is expected to avoid a trial, with his defence and the prosecutors making an agreement instead.
The Barcelona player is the latest star to be involved in an issue with the Spanish tax authorities after similar allegations emerged against Neymar, Iker Casillas, Xabi Alonso and Lionel Messi.
Reports in Spain earlier in October announced that four-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi faced 22 months in jail if found guilty of defrauding the tax authorities after being accused of three offences that saw his father allegedly defraud the state for around £3m.
Two-game ban in La Liga
The news over Mascherano's tax fraud came just one day after the Spanish Football Federation handed the Argentine a two-game ban following his red card during the victory over Eibar on 25 October for verbally abusing a linesman.
The Argentina international will consequently miss the next La Liga games against Villarreal and Getafe but will be available to return to action for the much-expected first Clasico of the season against Real Madrid on 21 November.