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Alexis Sanchez tax settlement is 'unfair,' part of 'witch-hunt' - agent

ESPN FC's Ale Moreno feels Alexis Sanchez will attract more attention from defenders, which will then allow Romelu Lukaku more space in the attack.

Alexis Sanchez's agent says his client has had to accept an "unfair" settlement with Spanish authorities after admitting tax fraud.

Manchester United forward Sanchez accepted a 16-month suspended prison sentence and was fined €590,065 (£524,575) for fraud relating to his image rights while a Barcelona player.

As the sentence is less than two years and for a first offence, it is suspended under Spanish law.

Sanchez had already paid the Spanish authorities €983,443 plus interest in taxes due on image rights between 2012 and 2013, a document provided by Barcelona's public prosecutor's office to ESPN FC showed.

He was found guilty of two counts of fraud and admitted concealing his image rights income from the Spanish tax office via companies based overseas.

Other players including Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have been involved in tax cases, and agent Fernando Felicevich accused authorities of "a witch-hunt."

In a statement published on social media, he said: "The Spanish tax agency has once again leaked details of an agreement between our representative Alexis Sanchez and Spanish prosecutors.

"Spanish prosecutors and the treasury department have placed more than 30 professional footballers in the same situation, accusing them of the same crimes and threatening them with prison sentences.

"Almost every member of the Real Madrid and Barcelona squad have been placed in this situation, even though these clubs use a standard pay formula for their first team which has been accepted by the Spanish treasury in the past.

"Throughout all these cases, whilst violating the rights of those under investigation, the repeated, continuous and obscene leaks have been an element of pressure on the players to force them to accept agreements like the one today, which once again has been leaked to the media.

"On some occasions, there has been no other way out but to surrender to the pressure, and to avoid worst injustices, accept unfair agreements like this one."

Felicevich claimed prosecutors "have decided on their own criteria which players to accuse, almost all of them foreigners, and exercised threats and public pressure through the media to force the players and managers to accept these totally unjust agreements."

He added: "In these circumstances, and despite having shown that Alexis has not committed any crime, we have been obliged, on the recommendation of our advisors, to accept this unjust agreement and therefore alleviate the emotional, personal and economic erosion caused by having to endure lengthy trials.

"Seeing the nightmare companions like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo etc have been through, we have reached the conclusion that it is better to accept an unfair settlement so we can move on and not continue to be subjected to media and political pressures."

Rob is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.

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