A Spanish state prosecutor has accused Cristiano Ronaldo of defauding the country’s tax office of millions of euros. The Portuguese star stands accused of using a shell company in the Carribbean to hide income.Madrid’s regional state prosecutor released a statement on Tuesday in which it accused Cristiano Ronaldo of four counts of fraud worth a total of 14.7 million euros ($16.5 million) in unpaid taxes on income earned between 2011 and 2014.
“The accused took advantage of a company structure created in 2010 to hide from the tax authorities income generated in Spain from his image rights, which is a “voluntary” and “conscious” breach of his fiscal obligations in Spain,” the statement said. It continued to say Ronaldo, 32, had used a shell company based in the Virgin Islands to “create a screen in order to hide his total income from Spain’s tax office.”
The prosecutor also accused Ronaldo of having declared that he had earned just 11.5 million euros between 2011 and 2014 in a tax return filed in 2014, while his actual income during this period was almost 43 million euros. It added that Ronaldo falsely claimed the income as coming from real estate, which “greatly” reduced his tax rate.
Additionally, the prosecutor said Ronaldo “intentionally” failed to declare income of 28.4 million euros linked to the sale of his image rights from 2015-2020 to a Spanish company.
Ronaldo,who is set to take part in the coming Confederations Cup in Russia as part of the Portuguese team, was recently named the world’s highest-paid athlete by “Forbes” magazine. German news magazine “Spiegel” reported last December that he, along with his former coach, Jose Mourinho, benefited from a special arrangement with Spanish tax authorities.
This is far from the first case of alleged tax evasion involving football stars in Spain. In one high-profile case Barcelona’s Lionel Messi was handed a 21-month jail sentence and a 2.1-million-euro fine after being convicted on tax-fraud charges last year. The prison term is expected to be suspended as is common in Spain for first offences for non-violent crimes carrying a sentence of less than two years.
dv/pfd (AP, AFP)