Ex-Barcelona president defends Messi on tax fraud (The Associated Press)

FILE - In this Feb. 26, 2013 file photo, Barcelona's Lionel Messi from Argentina reacts after losing the Copa del Rey soccer match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain. A state prosecutor for the northeastern region of Catalonia has lodged on Wednesday June 12, 2013, a lawsuit against Lionel Messi for fraud in unpaid income tax amounting to euro4 million ($5.3 million). The complaint, signed by prosecutor Raquel Amado, has been submitted for trial at the courthouse in Gava, the upscale Barcelona district where the Argentina forward lives. The document, presented to the court on Wednesday, brings a lawsuit against Barcelona star Messi and his father, Jorge Horacio Messi.(AP Photo/Manu Fernandez, File)

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Former Barcelona President Joan Laporta defended Lionel Messi on Thursday against allegations of tax fraud that could carry a prison sentence for the Argentina star.

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