Barcelona footballer Lionel Messi and his father are being investigated in Spain for allegedly defrauding the state of more than 4m euros (£3.4m).
The 25-year-old Argentina forward and his father, Jorge Horacio, are suspected of filing fraudulent tax returns for 2007-09, officials say.
The World Player of the Year expressed his surprise, denying the allegation.
His Barcelona net salary is said to be some 16m euros a year, making him one of the world’s highest-paid athletes.
He has also signed a number of multimillion-dollar endorsements with major sponsors around the globe.