Egypt football legend sentenced for tax evasion

A court in Egypt has sentenced Mohamed Aboutrika, one of the country’s football legends, to one year in prison for tax evasion with an option to pay a fine of 20,000 Egyptian pounds ($1,100; £860) to have the sentence suspended, reports the BBC.

Aboutrika, who has lived in exile in Qatar since 2013, was not in court on Monday for the verdict, the Associated Press agency reports.

The court said Aboutrika failed to pay $39,500 in taxes on income from advertising deals with carbonated drink and telecommunications companies in 2008 and 2009.

Egyptian authorities froze his assets in 2015 and placed him in a no-fly list last year over allegations of links to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, which authorities have labelled a terrorist organisation.

He openly has openly sympathised with the Muslim Brotherhood and publicly endorsed Mohammed Morsi in his successful presidential run in 2012, a year after the overthrow of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak, AP reports.

Aboutrika has, however, denied funding Islamist organisations.

The former attacking midfielder played for Cairo’s Al-Ahly club and was central to two of Egypt’s three straight African Cup of Nations titles in 2006, 2008 and 2010.

Those triumphs made Egypt Africa’s most successful team with a record seven titles.

Aboutrika was dubbed “Prince of Hearts” and “The Magician” by his fans.

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