Di Maria agrees settlement on tax charges

Angel di Maria could have faced up to 16 months in prison on two charges of tax fraud, but the former Real Madrid player has reached an agreement with authorities in Spain to avoid jail time.
Angel di Maria could have faced up to 16 months in prison on two charges of tax fraud, but the former Real Madrid player has reached an agreement with authorities in Spain to avoid jail time.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Argentinian will plead guilty and pay $3.1m to avoid jail; Mourinho also insists tax filings are in order

MADRID • Former Real Madrid player Angel di Maria has reached an agreement with Spanish prosecutors over a tax evasion charge related to his image rights, a Madrid-based court said yesterday.

Di Maria, who now plays for France's Paris Saint-Germain, will plead guilty to two charges of tax fraud, carrying an eight-month prison sentence for each, and pay a €2 million euros (S$3.1 million) settlement, the court said.

Under Spanish law, a first-time offender is not required to serve time in jail for a sentence below two years.

The Argentinian midfielder is accused of failing to pay €1.3 million to the Spanish tax authorities in the 2012-2013 season by giving up his image rights to companies based in tax havens such as Panama.

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It was not immediately possible to reach di Maria's representatives for a comment.

The deal comes amid a lengthening list of cases of tax evasion by high-profile players such as Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, whose charges date back to when he coached Real.

Mourinho's agents said he had already dealt with questions raised by tax authorities in 2015, settling issues with his 2011 and 2012 filings and reaching a settlement regarding taxes for the year 2013.

  • €26m

  • Taxes paid by Jose Mourinho during his time in Spain while managing Real Madrid.

The 54-year-old's representatives Gestifute Media also circulated a copy of a tax document dated July 3, 2015, which covers the period in question.

According to Gestifute, Mourinho "paid more than €26 million in taxes, at an average rate above 41 per cent and accepted regularisation proposals from the tax authorities in 2015 relating to the years 2011 and 2012, and resolved by agreement his situation for the year 2013".

It also said that he had received a certificate from the authorities confirming that he was "up to date with all his tax obligations".

The accusations come as Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, 32, was summoned to appear before a judge next month, after being accused of tax evasion of €14.7 million.

Both Ronaldo and Mourinho are clients of football super-agent Jorge Mendes, who has also been summoned to appear before the court at Pozuelo de Alarcon, just outside Madrid, on June 27.

Revelations from the whistleblowing website Football Leaks have lifted the veil on the practices supposedly used by Mendes to optimise often enormous earnings from image rights by his clients.

Media consortium European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) has claimed that no less than €185 million worth of income has escaped the attentions of tax authorities using shell companies and offshore accounts.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 22, 2017, with the headline 'Di Maria agrees settlement on tax charges'. Print Edition | Subscribe