Barcelona court shifts Lionel Messi case to June 7 start - report

The Barcelona court has moved the date of the Lionel Messi tax fraud trial from May 31 to June 7 at the request of the lawyers, Spanish daily El Mundo reported on Tuesday.

The change of date could mean that the Argentina star might miss a date in the first week of Copa America Centenario play.

Although Messi does not need to be present for the trial, estimated to last about four days, he has been called in to testify and as such, his presence will be expected for at least one of those days. The Copa America Centenario runs from June 3-26 in the United States. Argentina debut against Chile on June 6.

Messi and his father, Jorge Messi, have been charged with three counts of tax fraud in Spain and could be sentenced to nearly two years in prison if found guilty. They are accused of defrauding Spain's tax office of €4.1 million ($4.4m) in unpaid taxes from 2007-09.

Jorge Messi on Monday denied the family's involvement in tax evasion projects as alleged by a coalition of media outlets that is investigating offshore financial dealings by the rich and famous.

Spain's El Confidencial digital publication reported as part of the release of leaked documents from a Panamanian law firm that the Messi family is being accused of setting up a tax fraud network by using Panamanian company Mega Star Enterprises to avoid paying tax on image rights deals.

The Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists said the cache of 11.5 million records detailed the offshore holdings of a dozen current and former world leaders, along with businessmen, celebrities and sports stars.

Messi Sr. said the family is planning to sue Spanish newspaper El Confidencial for defamation after the Barcelona star was linked to the tax evasion project.

"Lionel Messi has not participated in any of the acts in which he is being implicated," Messi Sr. said via statement on Monday. "The accusations saying that we have set up a new form of tax evasion and that we have created a network to launder money are false and libelous."

Messi Sr. also said that the accusations stem from a "previous tax structure that was set up by former financial advisers to the Messi family" and that the "fiscal consequences for Lionel Messi were already corrected at that time."

He also said that Spain's internal revenue service has received information about "all the assets derived from image rights, including those that were earned prior to and after that time."

Barcelona on Monday also released a statement saying they fully support the Messi family and club president Josep Maria Bartomeu on Tuesday also backed his star player.