Manchester United’s new signing Alexis Sanchez has been handed a 16-month prison sentence in Spain for tax fraud.
Sanchez, the highest-paid player in the Premier League on £600,000 a week, accepted his punishment for defrauding the Spanish tax authorities of £900,000 during his time at Barcelona.
The 29-year-old Chile star will not go to prison because it is his first offence and the sentence is less than two years.
However, his conviction could be a stumbling block to obtaining a visa if United tour America again this summer.
Sanchez must also pay a £525,000 fine in addition to the tax he owes for 2012 and 2013 on image rights earned at Barcelona.
The agreement with the Spanish Attorney General means Sanchez will not face trial. He is the latest big name to become embroiled in a tax probe that has also targeted Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
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 team-mate 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’s agent Fernando Felicevich hit out at the authorities for leaking the news about his client, and claimed that he had been forced into the ‘unfair’ deal.
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