BARCELONA, SPAIN – AUGUST 18: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona looks on during the Joan Gamper Trophy match between FC Barcelona and Club Leon at Camp Nou on August 18, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Lionel Messi’s charity under possible fraud investigation based on two friendlies

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.

(Bleacher Report/AS/El Mundo/USA Today/Guardian)

About Phillip Bupp

Producer/editor of the Awful Announcing Podcast and Short and to the Point. News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. Highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @phillipbupp