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Samuel Eto'o handed suspended jail sentence for tax evasion while at Barcelona

Sean Walsh
Eto'o spent five seasons at Barcelona
Eto'o spent five seasons at Barcelona / BERTRAND GUAY/GettyImages
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Samuel Eto'o has accepted a suspended 22-month jail sentence and a fine of just over €1.8m for tax evasion, though insisted he was manipulated by his former agent.

The Cameroonian was found to have not declared income which came from the transfer of his image rights to sponsor Puma and Barcelona, his club at the time, in his personal income tax returns between 2006 and 2009. A Spanish court ruled he had illegally taxed his image rights through two companies so that he did not have to pay as much.

Eto'o has agreed to pay his fine but alleged that his ex-agent, Jose Maria Mesalles, misled him, commenting: "It was my father who took care of the child I was then. I'm going to pay but I've always done what my father told me I had to do."

Mesalles will pay a fine of little over €900,000, while he was also sentenced to a year in prison.

However, because neither Eto'o or Mesalles have criminal records and the sentences were under two years, their jail time has been suspended.

Eto'o spent the majority of his playing days in Spain, featuring for Leganes, Real Madrid, Espanyol, Mallorca and Barcelona over the first 12 years of his career.

He signed for Barca in 2004 and went on to score 130 goals in 199 games for the Catalan side, notably helping them to two Champions League titles.

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