Cristiano Ronaldo Appears In Court On Tax Fraud Charges

Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid forward, testified at the Pozuelo de Alarcon court on July 31, where he was facing allegations he evaded millions in tax.

The 32-year-old soccer star was in court for around 90 minutes and declined to speak to media afterwards.

Last week, a Spanish judge summoned Ronaldo to court to answer questions as part of a tax fraud case against him.

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On July 11, a Madrid-based prosecutor’s office accused Ronaldo of four counts of tax fraud totalling €14.7 million (US$16.5 million).

The prosecutor said Ronaldo used a shell company in the Virgin Islands to hide the true amount of income made from image rights, among other means of illegally reducing the amount of taxes he paid.

Ronaldo, who has denied any wrongdoing, would face a large fine and a possible custodial sentence if found guilty of hiding earnings from his image rights between 2011 and 2014.

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Inaki Torres, head of communication at Gestifute, the agency which represents Ronaldo, told Spanish media on Monday “everything is in order.”

“My conscience is quite clear, brother. Always, man,” Ronaldo said on July 12 as he walked from a Portugal team bus into the Lisbon airport.

Also on July 12, Real Madrid issued a statement saying that it was convinced Ronaldo “will demonstrate his complete innocence.”

“Real Madrid expresses its complete confidence in our player Cristiano Ronaldo, who we understand has acted within the law as far as complying with his fiscal obligations,” the statement said.


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Ronaldo’s agency had previously said that the soccer star was up to date with his taxes.

“There is no offshore structure for evading taxes,” Gestifute said in a statement. “There has never been concealment, or the slightest intention to conceal.”

Last year, Barcelona forward Lionel Messi and his father, Jorge Horacio Messi, were found guilty on three counts of defrauding tax authorities of €4.1 million (US$4.6 million) from income made from image rights and given 21-month jail sentences. Neither Messi, however, is expected to serve prison time since it was a first offence.

—With files from Reuters and The Associated Press

 

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