Lionel Messi has had a rough few days. This past weekend, he tore his MCL against Las Palmas and will be out about two months. Now, it appears that his charity is going to be investigated for fraud based off of income generated from friendly games in Lima, Peru (2012) and Chicago, Illinois (2013) from a report by Bleacher Report and El Mundo.
The specific issue is that prosecutors believes they have found “indications of fraud” from Messi’s charity (which his father runs) and a reported anonymous source claimed that a prominent Mexican drug cartel was involved in those two games in a money laundering capacity. Games were advertised as money raised would go to UNICEF.
It’s important to note that Messi has run into previous issues involving his charity. There have been tax issues involving Messi and his father and speaking of the game in Chicago, news broke at the time of Messi not even showing up to his own charity match. Just a few days ago, Messi’s club and country teammate Javier Mascherano was charged in similar tax evasion charges as Messi had.
This story can go in a variety of different directions. If this is as serious as drug cartels being involved, that brings in the DEA and it becomes more than just fraud. I would think UNICEF would make some sort of comment eventually. Quite frankly, what they say will go a long way in terms if there is fraud. If money from the games was supposed to go to UNICEF, all we would need to know is if UNICEF received a check from Messi’s charity from those two games. I’m not saying that is going to completely answer all the questions, both known and unknown, in this saga but it’ll progress the story at least.