BARCELONA Ė Manchester United newly-signed forward Alexis Sanchez reached on Wednesday an agreement with Spanish prosecutors to accept a 16-month prison sentence over tax fraud, but he will pay back the 1 million euros ($1.2 million) plus interest on top of a fine to avoid imprisonment.
The Chile forward is accused of defrauding the Spanish treasury of 1 million euros ($1.23 million) between 2012-2013 when he played in Barcelona and hid the income of his image rights.
Sanchez reached this agreement with the prosecution and the State Prosecutor after returning the defrauded money with interest to the treasury and admitting that he initiated the transfer of his image rights to two foreign companies, both of which he owned, to hide his income.
The forward testified before the judge on Jan. 16, 2017 via video conference from London, where he has resided after his transfer from Barcelona to Arsenal.
Sanchez accepted the sentences of eight months in prison for two crimes against the public treasury, although the prosecution is to order that he will not be jailed if he does not commit a crime in the next two years.
The agreement, under which the player also accepts a fine of 590,065 euros ($728,567) and will receive no government aid or tax incentives in Spain for two years, has been notified by the judge of the Spanish court issuing a ruling to suspend the execution of the 16-month prison sentence.
Sanchez joined Barcelona in July 2011 and remained at the Catalan club until the 2014-2015 season, when he moved to Arsenal before joining Manchester United in this winter transfer window.