Football: Ronaldo accepts two years in prison, almost certainly suspended, and €18.8m fine in tax case - Report

Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo training at the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi on June 14, 2018, on the eve of the Russia 2018 World Cup Group B football match against Spain.
Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo training at the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi on June 14, 2018, on the eve of the Russia 2018 World Cup Group B football match against Spain.PHOTO: AFP

MADRID (REUTERS) - Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo has reached a deal with the Spanish tax authorities to serve two years in prison and pay a €18.8 million (S$29.4 million) fine in a tax evasion case, newspaper El Mundo reported on Friday (June 15).

He is unlikely to serve any time in jail under the deal because Spanish law states that a sentence of under two years for a first offence can be served on probation.

The 33-year-old Portuguese footballer, who is accused of evading €14.7 million in taxes, has denied all the allegations through his agents.

Ronaldo is due to play for Portugal later in the day (2am on Saturday, Singapore time) in a World Cup match against Spain.

Gestifute, the agency representing the player, was not immediately available to comment on the report.

The Spanish tax agency also declined to comment. The Spanish courts have recently cracked down on tax evasion among leading footballers.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi was handed a 21-month prison sentence in 2017 on similar charges but under Spanish law was able to exchange the penalty for a fine.

 

Between 2005 and 2010, foreign players in Spain were protected under the so-called "Beckham law" allowing them to curb their taxes. But as the financial crisis bit deeper, that exemption was lifted, paving the way for the cases.