Sports Ronaldo in Trouble, Accused of Multi-million Euro Fraud

Real Madrid and Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo has been accused by prosecutors in Spain of defrauding Spanish authorities of $16.4 million in tax between 2011 and 2014.

"The accused took advantage of a company structure created in 2010 to hide income generated in Spain from his image rights from tax authorities, which is a "voluntary" and "conscious" breach of his fiscal obligations in Spain", the statement added.

The lawsuit is based on a report sent to the prosecutor's office from Spain's tax agency AEAT, it said.

Real Madrid and Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

Of Messi's sentence, the court said, "It defies logic to concede that someone who earns a large income does not know that he must pay taxes on it", the BBC reported.

The prosecutor also said that Ronaldo "intentionally" did not declare income of 28.4 million euros ($31.8 million) made from the cession of image rights from 2015-20 to another company located in Spain.

The statement said the Portugese became a Spanish tax resident in January 2010 and, in November 2011, opted to follow the Spanish tax regime that applies to foreigners working in the country.

He should have paid a tax rate of 24 percent in 2011, and 24.75 percent in the three following years, it said. He later went on to play for Real Madrid between 1996 and 1999.

Cristiano Ronaldo is Europe's top soccer player.

Ronaldo was in superlative form as Real Madrid defeated Juventus in Champions League Final, after he helped his team win the Spanish La Liga. Messi was handed a 21-month jail sentence that was later reduced to 15 months.

It is likely the prison term will be suspended as is common in Spain for first offences for non-violent crimes that carry a sentence of less than two years. Messi's Barcelona teammate Neymar is also being prosecuted in Spain over his transfer from Brazilian team Santos in 2013.

  • Salvatore Jensen