Manchester United’s new signing Alexis Sanchez has  accepted the punishment for defrauding the tax authorities of £900,000 during his time at Barcelona.

Sanchez, 29, will  not have to go to prison because it is his first offence and the sentence is less than two years.

But the Chile star, who is the highest paid player in the Premier League, on £350,000-a-week, must pay a fine of £525,000 in addition to the tax he owed on image rights earnings over his three years at the Nou Camp.

The court heard that Sanchez set up a company called Numidia Trading in Malta to avoid paying the tax between 2012 and 2013, having moved his earnings from a Chile-based company called Inversiones Alsan.

Sanchez is the latest big name to become embroiled in the tax investigation into leading figures in Spanish football.

United manager Jose Mourinho remains under investigation over £2.94m of unpaid contributions despite claiming at a court hearing in November that his financial affairs are in order.

Sanchez’s former Barca teammate Lionel Messi was given a 21-month prison sentence in 2016, but exchanged it for a £223,000 fine last year.

Javier Mascherano and Ricardo Carvalho both settled after being given suspended prison sentences, while Cristiano Ronaldo’s case over unpaid taxes of £13m is ongoing.

Sanchez admitted his guilt and agreed to pay the Spanish authorities the money defrauded, plus interest.

The Chile international is the latest high-profile player associated with LaLiga to have been punished for tax fraud over recent years.

In 2016, Lionel Messi was handed a 21-month prison sentence, although his similarly non-custodial term was later changed to a fine.


The Nation