Football: Atletico's Diego Costa appears in court to settle tax fraud case, will pay higher fine to avoid prison

Diego Costa had made a pact with prosecutors to resolve a tax fraud case against him.
Diego Costa had made a pact with prosecutors to resolve a tax fraud case against him.PHOTO: REUTERS

MADRID (REUTERS) - Atletico Madrid forward Diego Costa appeared in court in the Spanish capital wearing a white mask on Thursday (June 4), to ratify a pact he made with prosecutors to resolve a tax fraud case against him.

Prosecutors were asking for a six-month jail sentence and a fine of €507,208 (S$796,400) to punish him for defrauding the Spanish state of €1,014,416 in 2014.

According to a court filing published last month, the 31-year-old did not declare payments of €5,150,622 from his transfer that year from Atletico to Chelsea in his tax return, as well as more than €1 million in image rights.

In accordance with Spanish law, which allows penal sentences below two years for non-violent crimes to be exchanged for a financial penalty, Costa has agreed to pay an additional fine of €36,500 on top of the €507,208 to avoid jail time.

"Diego Costa reached an agreement a few months ago with the prosecutor and has already paid the corresponding fine plus interest and the request for a prison sentence was withdrawn," an Atletico spokesman told Reuters on Wednesday.

"This week it is expected that agreement will be ratified in court, as is mandatory."

Spain international Costa, who was wearing a mask due to the Covid-19 pandemic, returned to Atletico from Chelsea in 2017 for a reported €55 million after helping fire the London side to two Premier League titles.