Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo denies tax fraud at court hearing

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Ronaldo returns to training on August 5th.

Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo denied hiding millions of euros in income at a court hearing near Madrid on Monday where he was charged with tax evasion, the latest footballer star to fall foul of Spain’s taxman.

The Portuguese – the world’s highest paid sportsman according to Forbes magazine – follows in the steps of his arch-rival, Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, who was found guilty of the same offence last year.

“I have never hidden anything, nor have I had the intention of evading taxes,” Ronaldo, 32, told the court, according to a statement from the sports agency which represents him, Gestifute.

“I always voluntarily file my tax returns because I think we all must file a return and pay taxes according to our income. Those that know me, know what I ask my advisors: that they have everything up to date and properly paid, because I don’t want problems.”

Accused of having evaded €14.7 million in tax, he entered and left the court in Pozuelo de Alarcon, a wealthy suburb of Madrid where he lives, via an underground garage to avoid the press.

Prosecutors allege he took “advantage of a company structure created in 2010 to hide income generated in Spain from his image rights from tax authorities”.

They say this was a “voluntary and conscious breach of his fiscal obligations in Spain”.

Prosecutors accuse the four-time world player of the year of evading tax via a shell company based in the British Virgin Islands and another in Ireland, known for low corporate tax rates.

In addition, they say the Real Madrid striker only declared €11.5 million of Spanish-related income from 2011 to 2014, while what he really earned during that time was close to €43 million euros.

They also accuse him of “voluntarily” refusing to include €28.4 million in income linked to the sale of his image rights for the 2015 to 2020 period to a Spanish company.

‘LEGAL AND LEGITIMATE’

Inaki Torres, communication's head at Gestifute, the agency which represents Ronaldo speaks to the media.

Inaki Torres, communication’s head at Gestifute, the agency which represents Ronaldo speaks to the media.

Ronaldo told the court he did not create a “special structure” to manage his image rights when he moved to Real in 2009 but simply maintained the one set up in 2004 while he was at Manchester United “long before I thought of coming to Spain”.

This structure had been deemed “legal and legitimate” by the British tax office.

The affair has taken its toll on Ronaldo.  According to press reports, Real’s all-time top goalscorer, threatened to leave Spain over the affair, giving supporters a fright.

He has since decided to stay on, according to Real coach Zinedine Zidane.

If he were put on trial and found guilty, Ronaldo would risk “a fine of at least €28 million” and could potentially be jailed for three-and-a-half years, the Gestha union of experts at Spain’s Inland Revenue has said.

Since extending his contract last November until 2021, Ronaldo is the highest paid sports star in the world with $93 million earned in 2016-2017, according to Forbes.

SUPER AGENT MENDES

Cristiano Ronaldo (L), Jorge Mendes.

Cristiano Ronaldo (L), Jorge Mendes.

Ronaldo is not the only footballer to fall foul of authorities in Spain, which is only just recovering from a damaging economic crisis that saw countless people lose their jobs and inequalities rise.

Messi was sentenced to a 21-month jail sentence and €2.09 million fine last year for tax fraud.

His prison sentence has since been replaced by another fine of 252,000 euros, which corresponds to 400 euros for each day of jail.

Barcelona’s Argentine defender Javier Mascherano, meanwhile, agreed a one-year suspended sentence with authorities for tax fraud last year.

Brazil star Neymar, another Barcelona forward, and his parents are also due to stand trial for alleged corruption over his transfer from Santos in 2013.

Real have not been spared either. Apart from Ronaldo, former player Angel di Maria, Portuguese defender Fabio Coentrao and Jose Mourinho, who coached the club from 2010 to 2013, have all been accused of tax fraud.

All are clients of super-agent Jorge Mendes, who was also questioned and put under official investigation last month by a Spanish court investigating alleged tax evasion by Monaco striker Radamel Falcao, another footballer in his stable.

Provided by AFP Sport

Most popular

Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo appears in court over tax evasion claims

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Cristiano Ronaldo.

Football megastar Cristiano Ronaldo appeared in court near Madrid on Monday accused of evading millions of euros in taxes, the latest player to fall foul of Spain’s taxman.

The 32-year-old entered the court in Pozuelo de Alarcon, a wealthy suburb of Madrid where he lives, in a car with tainted windows via an underground garage to avoid the glare of the dozens of cameras gathered outside.

The player is expected to speak to the press after his court hearing. A podium was set up outside the courthouse behind metal barriers.

The Portuguese star — the world’s highest paid athlete according to Forbes magazine — follows in the steps of his arch-rival, Barcelona forward and Argentina star Lionel Messi, who was found guilty of the same offence last year.

Other footballers have also recently run into trouble with Spain’s taxman, some of them already convicted and others under investigation.

Prosecutors accuse Ronaldo of having evaded 14.7 million euros ($17.3 million) in tax.

They allege he took “advantage of a company structure created in 2010 to hide income generated in Spain from his image rights from tax authorities”.

They say this was a “voluntary and conscious breach of his fiscal obligations in Spain”.

Prosecutors accuse the four-time world player of the year of evading tax via a shell company based in the British Virgin Islands and another in Ireland, known for low corporate tax rates.

In addition, they say the Real Madrid striker only declared 11.5 million euros of Spanish-related income from 2011 to 2014, while what he really earned during that time was close to 43 million euros.

And finally, they accuse him of “voluntarily” refusing to include 28.4 million euros in income linked to the sale of his image rights for the 2015 to 2020 period to a Spanish company.

Ronaldo is expected to declare himself not guilty during his closed door court appearance. He has defended himself, saying his “conscience is clear”.

His agent’s company Gestifute has also denied any “fiscal set-up” and said “the player didn’t hide anything”.

But the allegations still took their toll on the man with the “CR7” brand. According to press reports, Real’s all-time top goalscorer, threatened to leave Spain over the affair, giving supporters a fright.

He has since hinted he will stay on, telling Spanish sports daily Marca that he would like to continue to win trophies for Real.

If he were put on trial and found guilty, Ronaldo would risk “a fine of at least 28 million” euros and could potentially be jailed for three-and-a-half years, the Gestha union of experts at Spain’s Inland Revenue has said.

Since extending his contract last November until 2021, Ronaldo is the highest paid sports star in the world with $93 million earned in 2016-2017, according to Forbes.

SUPER-AGENT MENDES

Ronaldo is not the only footballer to fall foul of authorities in Spain, which is only just recovering from a damaging economic crisis that saw countless people lose their jobs and inequalities rise.

Messi was sentenced to a 21-month jail sentence and 2.09-million-euro fine last year for tax fraud.

His prison sentence has since been replaced by another fine of 252,000 euros, which corresponds to 400 euros for each day of jail.

Barcelona’s Argentine defender Javier Mascherano, meanwhile, agreed a one-year suspended sentence with authorities for tax fraud last year.

Brazil star Neymar, another Barcelona forward, and his parents are also due to stand trial for alleged corruption over his transfer from Santos in 2013.

Real have not been spared either.

Apart from Ronaldo, former player Angel di Maria, Portuguese defender Fabio Coentrao and Jose Mourinho, who coached the club from 2010 to 2013, have all been accused of tax fraud.

All are clients of super-agent Jorge Mendes, who was also questioned and put under official investigation last month by a Spanish court investigating alleged tax evasion by Monaco striker Radamel Falcao, another footballer in his stable.

Most popular

Cristiano Ronaldo not due back for Real Madrid until three days before European Super Cup final against Manchester United

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Club legend Ronaldo: Set to return early next month.

Cristiano Ronaldo will make a timely return to Real Madrid training ahead of the club’s European Super Cup clash with Manchester United in Macedonia next month, according to Marca.

The Los Blancos club legend, who was initially due back from his summer break on Friday July 28 – 30 days after he played his last match for Portugal in the Confederations Cup – was reportedly given more time off ahead of his tax evasion court case next week (Monday July 31).

Ronaldo missed Real’s tour of the USA and instead took part in a personal, promotional tour of China.

Nevertheless, the 32-year-old is all set to make his comeback in time for Real’s key fixtures, starting with United on August 8th and then the double-header against Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup (first leg, Nou Camp, August 13th; second leg, Bernabeu, August 16th).

Most popular