Former striker Samuel Eto’o was sentenced to 22 months in prison for having defrauded 3.8 million euros (approximately R$21 million, at current exchange rates) from the Spanish Public Treasury between 2006 and 2009, when he defended the Barcelona. This morning, the Cameroonian accepted the sentence and acknowledged the fraud with his former representative, José María Mesalles, who was sentenced to one year in prison.
According to the EFE news agency, Eto’o admitted to the fraud, but indirectly blamed the former representative in his statement at the Barcelona Court. Mesalles was always cited by the former player as a “second father”.
“I recognize the facts and I will pay, but let them know that I was a child at the time and that I always did what my father asked me to do,” said Eto’o. Mesalles, for his part, chose not to testify before confirming the fraud.
Initially, Spanish authorities asked for four and a half years in prison for the player and his former representative for four crimes against the National Treasury, according to the news agency. However, they ended up being reduced by both having acknowledged fault and partially repairing the damage with the return of part of the defrauded fees.
As neither Eto’o nor Mesalles did not have a criminal record, the execution of the sentence will be suspended. In addition, the former striker was sentenced to pay four fines, one for each crime, in the amount of R$9.6 million, while the former representative will have to pay the public coffers R$4.8 million.
The Cameroonian was tried for crimes committed between 2006 and 2009, when he earned significant income with Barcelona and for having transferred his image rights to Puma. However, the values were not declared.