Lionel Messi's brother, Matias, who was found guilty of possessing an illegal firearm, has been handed a two-and-a-half-year suspended prison sentence.
The footballer's older brother, who was found with the illegal firearm in a blood-stained boat which he crashed in the Parana River, received a two-and-a-half year prison sentence on Thursday August 16th but instead of going to jail, he will undertake community service.
It was gathered that Lionel Messi's brother who was initially held under preventive arrest and later released while he recovered from a fractured jaw and other injuries in the Santa Fe province of Argentina, was handed the community service option through a deal with investigating prosecutors.
It also emerged that under Argentinian law, Messi’s brother could have be sentenced to up to eight and a half years in prison if convicted. The minimum prison sentence he could have face for an illegal firearms conviction, would be three and a half years according to local reports.
Matias’ lawyer Ignacio Carbone had also initially insisted he checked himself into hospital after injuring himself when he hit a sandbank - and has suggested the gun found on the boat could have been planted by cops.
Matias who has been linked with known criminals in the past, was held for 16 hours in a prison cell for in 2015 after officers found an an unlicensed 22-caliber gun in his car. He was also arrested in 2008 for allegedly having a loaded gun in his belt.
Matias is the middle brother in the Messi family, with Rodrigo aged 38 and Lionel aged 31. The trio also have a younger sister, 31, called Maria. Matias and Rodrigo helped the Argentina international build up a huge passion for football by playing constantly together when they were younger.
Lionel Messi's brother alongside his mother, Celia María Cuccittini - helps manage the Barcelona forward's charitable organisation, the Leo Messi Foundation.