Premiership’s highest-earning star Manchester United’s Alexis Sanchez escapes jail for tax fraud

New Manchester United signing Alexis Sanchez has been handed a 16-month suspended sentence for tax evasion by a Spanish court.

The former Arsenal and Barcelona forward was found guilty of defrauding the Spanish tax authorities of £900,000 during his spell at the Nou Camp.

But under Spanish law, the 29-year-old will not go to prison as the sentence is less than two years and it is his first offence.

Instead Sanchez, the highest played Premier League player must pay a £525,000 fine – which on his £350,000-a-week salary will take him just over a fortnight to pay – plus he must pay the Spanish taxman all tax owed on image rights he earned while playing for Barcelona.

The trial heard that the Chilean international evaded the tax on his earnings by setting up a company called Numidia Trading in Malta, having moved his earnings from another company in Chile.

Other big soccer names have also come under the scrutiny of a massive tax evasion investigation in Spain.

Former Nou Camp teammate Lionel Messi received a 21-month prison suspended sentence, with a £223,000 fine.

Real Madrid football legend Cristiano Ronaldo is still facing charges related to an alleged £13 million in evaded taxes, and Manchester United Manager Jose Mourinho is being investigated over £2.94 million unpaid taxes.

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