Governments across the world began investigating possible financial wrongdoing by the rich and powerful yesterday after a leak of four decades of documents from a Panamanian law firm that specialised in setting up offshore companies. The so-called 'Panama papers' revealed the financial arrangements of global political and public figures.

While holding money in offshore companies is not illegal, Messi, 28, was on Sunday accused by Spanish newspaper El Confidencial of creating a company with the aim of evading tax.

His family issued a statement yesterday denying allegations it said were published by various media organisations that Messi had created a corporate structure aimed at 'setting up a tax fraud network'.
It added, "The Messi family wish to make it clear Lionel Messi has not carried out any of the acts of which he is accused in the stories and that the allegations of him having designed a tax evasion project are false and injurious, as are those relating to the creation of a money laundering network”.

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