Cristiano Ronaldo Accused of $16M Tax Fraud in Spain

In a statement, the prosecutor's office said Ronaldo, a four-time Ballon d'Or victor, had used a "business structure" - created in 2010 - to hide the revenue generated by his image rights from the Spanish treasury, describing the breach as "voluntary" and "conscious".

Spanish prosecutors allege that Ronaldo used a shell company in the Virgin Islands to "create a screen in order to hide his total income from Spain's tax office".

"There is no tax evasion scheme", said a statement made by Ronaldo's representing agency Gestifute.

Ronaldo was accused of four accounts of tax fraud in a four-year span starting in 2011.

Additionally, the prosecutor said Ronaldo "intentionally" failed to declare income of 28.4 million euros linked to the sale of his image rights from 2015-2020 to a Spanish company.

The amount in Euros is equivalent to $16.5 million United States dollars.

Ronaldo 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 Spain.

In a similar situation, Barcelona star Lionel Messi was found guilty of tax fraud a year ago.

Likewise, Barcelona's Lionel Messi was found guilty and was charged with tax evasion last summer. Spain's Supreme Court has recently authorized a sentence of 21 months for the forward, despite the fact that the ruling was suspended as it was less than two years and he was a first-time suspect. Messi was sentenced to a 21-month jail sentence and 2.09-million-euro fine a year ago. Messi's Barcelona teammate Neymar is also being prosecuted in Spain over his transfer from Brazilian team Santos in 2013.

"The laws applicable to Cristiano Ronaldo are the Personal Income Tax Law and the Impatriots Law". He has led Madrid to back-to-back Champions League titles and its first Spanish league in five seasons.

  • Julie Sanders