Cristiano Ronaldo Accused Of $16 Million Tax Evasion By Spanish Government
Cristiano Ronaldo Accused of Tax Fraud
Ronaldo, 32, is being charged with four counts of tax fraud from 2011 to 2014, according to a statement Madrid’s regional state prosecutor released on Tuesday.
The statement claimed the soccer player “took advantage of a business structure created in 2010 to hide from fiscal authorities income generated in Spain from image rights,” and also alleged that Ronaldo utilized what it considers a shell company in the Virgin Islands to “create a screen in order to hide his total income from Spain’s Tax Office.”
The statement added Ronaldo “intentionally” did not declare income of €28.4 million ($31.8 million) related to image rights, and declared €11.5 million ($12.88 million) of earnings from 2011-14 when his real income was almost €43 million ($48.16 million).
The prosecutor also alleged that the Portuguese falsely reported income as coming from real estate, which it said had greatly trimmed his tax rate.
The Portuguese star, who is the world’s highest-paid athlete previously stated he was not concerned about fiscal investigations since he had nothing to hide.
Even after leaked documents in December implied Ronaldo had avoided taxes on income purportedly held in offshore accounts, the Portuguese forward denied the allegations.
Ronaldo’s agency previously announced he was up to date on his taxes. Last month, tax officials stated he adjusted his tax declarations and paid an additional 6 million euros ($6.72 million) in 2014.
According to Goal.com, the Portuguese star’s case will probably be dealt with in a way that is similar to Barcelona star Lionel Messi, with a long trial in court.
Though Messi’s case was opened in 2013 and he was formally charged in July 2016, Spain’s Supreme Court handed the Argentine and his father/financial advisor Jorge a suspended sentence just last month. Messi was also originally found guilty of tax fraud, more specifically of avoiding his fiscal responsibilities by hiding income in offshore accounts and tax havens in Belize and Uruguay and evading payments on his image rights.
The Argentine was forced to pay a 4.1 million euro ($4.6 million) fine and sentenced to 21 months in prison. Messi’s sentence was reduced at the end of May because under Spanish law, first-time offenders do not need to serve jail time for non-violent crimes if the term is for two years or less.
Per Goal’s Alberto Pinero and Ignasi Oliva:
“Cristiano’s case would be the same [as Messi’s]. With no previous record of tax evasion or other offences, Ronaldo would not spend time in jail – even if he is found guilty of the charges.
Sources consulted confirm that the Portuguese would only be forced to serve time if the sentence were to be greater than 24 months and, although this case is in theory more serious than Messi’s, the same jurisprudence would likely be followed and applied.”
Before the Champions League final, Ronaldo told Spanish television station El Chiringuito he was not concerned about the possibility of him being charged.
“I am very relaxed about it — the truth is I’m very, very relaxed,” he said. “I know that these things can be resolved with the best decisions. So I am good. I can say [that] from the depth of my heart, looking straight into the camera.
“When you do things well you can go to bed feeling relaxed. And I sleep well always, always. So I am good, and only thinking about the Champions League final.”
According to Forbes, Ronaldo — a four-time Ballon d’Or winner — is the highest-paid sportsperson for the second consecutive year. He earned $93 million from salary, bonuses and endorsements last year.
MILAN, ITALY – MAY 28: Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid in action during the UEFA Champions League Final match between Real Madrid and Club Atletico de Madrid at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on May 28, 2016 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)