Spain’s Civil Guard, with the aid of Colombian and U.S. authorities, has dismantled a money-laundering ring linked to a company that organized charity soccer matches headlined by FC Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.
Messi’s implication in the racket has been dismissed, as has that of his agent Jorge Messi and another soccer player.
The Civil Guard says it has wrapped up its operation against a group suspected of money laundering through the staging of music and sports events in Spain, South America and the United States.
Throughout the investigation, which began in April 2012, four people have been arrested and another 12 are believed involved in the crime.
The Civil Guard adds that statements have been taken from some players as witnesses in order to obtain information about the event-organizing company, but has dismissed, for now, their part in the crime under investigation.
The agents have searched the premises of some companies related to the investigation, which will remain open until all the results are in, and have blocked assets worth 500,000 euros ($688,000).