Barcelona judge sets Oct. 29 date for Javier Mascherano tax fraud case

A Barcelona judge has ruled that Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano must appear in court on Oct. 29 to face tax fraud charges after Spain's authorities filed a complaint against him earlier this week.

The Superior Court of Justice in Catalonia said that the Argentina international faces counts of defrauding the Spanish tax authorities of €1.5 million related to allegedly undeclared earnings on his image rights in 2011-12 via companies set up in the United States and Portugal.

Spain's tax law allows a player to sell up to 15 percent of his image rights to a company.

However, the country's tax authorities claim the 31-year-old did not pay taxes on those earnings despite having already become a Spanish resident.

Mascherano, who has not spoken publicly on the matter, has reportedly paid this month the money owed as well as €200,000 in interest.

The 31-year-old is accused of defrauding the authorities of €587,822.01 in 2011 and €968,907.76 in 2012.

The South American is not the only Barcelona player to be facing tax evasion charges.

Mascherano's Argentinian compatriot Lionel Messi and his father Jorge Messi are pending trial for tax fraud.

The two are accused of not paying £3.4m in tax on earnings from the player's image rights between 2007 and 2009.

Messi and his father, who is also his agent, have denied any wrongdoing.