Ronaldo denies evading €14.8 million in taxes

Football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo could face a fine of over €28 million (S$43.28 million) and go to jail for 31/2 years if he is found guilty of defrauding Spanish tax authorities.
Football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo could face a fine of over €28 million (S$43.28 million) and go to jail for 31/2 years if he is found guilty of defrauding Spanish tax authorities.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

MADRID • Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo denied on Tuesday ever hiding any income from the taxman or committing any tax fraud in Spain, after prosecutors filed a lawsuit accusing him of defrauding tax authorities of €14.8 million (S$22.88 million).

The prosecutor's office said the Portuguese forward had knowingly used a business structure created in 2010 to allegedly hide his image rights income in Spain between 2011 and 2014. This involved a "voluntary" failure to comply with his tax obligations in Spain, the statement from the office's economic crimes section said.

The four counts of tax fraud were based on a report from Spain's tax agency, it said in a statement.

Ronaldo denied the accusations through his representatives late on Tuesday.

"There is no tax evasion scheme. There has never been any hiding nor any intention to hide anything," Gestifute, the agency that represents the player, said in a statement.

Gestifute said it would publish documents to show that the 32-year-old had not created such a structure and had used firms he owned since his time at Manchester United that British and Spanish tax authorities had been aware of.

The agency also said the case could relate to different interpretations between the British and Spanish tax systems over where to declare some revenues but would in any case not constitute fraud.

The prosecutor's office alleges that Ronaldo had defrauded the tax authorities of €1.4 million in 2011, €1.7 million in 2012, €3.2 million in 2013 and €8.5 million in 2014.

If Ronaldo is put on trial and found guilty, he risks a fine of at least €28 million and could potentially be jailed for 31/2 years, according to the Gestha union of experts at Spain's Inland Revenue.

Footballing super agent Jorge Mendes, who manages Ronaldo among others, has also been summoned before a Spanish court as part of the probe into Radamel Falcao's alleged tax evasion, legal sources said yesterday.

The Monaco striker is suspected of failing to correctly declare €5.6 million of income earned from image rights between 2012 and 2013 while he was at Atletico Madrid.

Mendes was summoned to appear before the court of instruction near Madrid on June 27.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 15, 2017, with the headline 'Ronaldo denies evading €14.8 million in taxes'. Print Edition | Subscribe