Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has lost a court case in Spain against two journalists that reported “irregularities” in the finances of his foundation.
Messi claimed that three articles in Spanish daily newspaper ABC had damaged his honour and demanded €202,786 in compensation.
He filed a claim in June 2017 against ABC director Bieto Rubido, and its investigative newspaper editor Javier Chicote.
The court hearing took place on July 18 in Gava, Barcelona, and the ruling has now emerged with Messi having to pay the court costs.
According to ABC newspaper, Judge Patricia Batlle Ferrando of the Gava District Court dismissed the claim and highlighted the “professional diligence” shown by the journalists.
She stated that the “figures [published] were true because the journalists have complied with the requested diligence and because the information, it’s not only true but it hasn’t been proven otherwise.”
The judge also said Chicote tried to contact the foundation in order to contrast the figures he published but did not get a response.
The court found that “the figures and information provided by the journalist are true, because they are obtained from a rigorous and objective source.”
The ABC articles claimed Messi’s foundation had not reached the legal minimum that an entity of its type must donate to social purposes and the foundation had a lack of transparency in its accounts from 2007 to 2012.
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