Javier Mascherano has decided against commuting the one-year prison sentence that he received for tax fraud in Spain to a fine.
The Barcelona player refused to pay the 280,000-euro penalty that the judge suggested because he believed the amount to be excessive. Mascherano, did admit to tax fraud and paid the Spanish tax authorities the amount they had claimed before the case even reached court. In the end the former Liverpool player was only willing to part with 21,000 euros.
Spanish radio station CadenaSER reported that the figure suggested by the Argentina international was accepted by the public prosecutor, but not by the tax authorities' lawyers, who deemed it insufficient and demanded a bigger sum from the investigating judge.
With a one-year jail term hanging over him, Mascherano has already been forced to pay a separate 815,000-euro fine, also return the 1.5 million euros that he owed in tax and cover the legal costs.
The Barcelona star made all the payments quickly and then attempted to cut a deal for a financial arrangement to override the jail sentence, despite the fact that he was never going to have to serve it because it was his first and was for less than two years.
Mascherano's refusal to pay the fine suggested by the judge will delay the trial and means he will have to avoid committing any other crimes over the next year in order to stay out of prison.