FORMER Mallorca star Samuel Eto’o could face more than 10 years in prison if Spanish prosecutors have their way. He stands accused of defrauding the national tax authority of more than €3m when he played for Barcelona from 2006 to 2009.
Lawyers are demanding that the Cameroonian striker, who scored more than 50 goals for Mallorca in appearances from 2000-2004, be imprisoned for 10 years and six months, and fined over €12 million.
Eto’o, who currently plays in Turkey, has vehemently denied any wrongdoing and claims he had no knowledge of his tax affairs, leaving that to a rogue’s gallery of lawyers, accountants and agents.
The 35-year-old was well-loved by Mallorca fans. He was the club’s record signing when he formally signed from Real Madrid for roughly €5 million, and left for Barcelona as the club’s top goal-scorer of all time.
In 2003 he scored two goals to help the club win the Copa del Rey and even donated €30,000 to help feed travelling supporters. Tax authorities in Spain have been clamping down on players throughout the year.
Barcelona star Lionel Messi, considered by many the finest player in the world, was handed a two-year suspended sentence for tax crimes. His teammate, Brazilian striker Neymar, is also at risk of being banned from playing.