Spanish state prosecutor accuses Ronaldo of tax fraud

Between 2011 and 2014, Ronaldo filed earnings of €11.5m with Spain's tax office, known as the Hacienda, instead of the €43m he actually earned over that period.

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Ronaldo, the four-time Ballon d'Or victor, is accused of using "business structures" in Ireland and the British Virgin Islands to hide almost €150 million ($168 million) in income he earned through selling the rights to his image.

The prosecutor alleged he used an off-shore company to hide a portion of his income from the tax office - but a statement from Ronaldo's management company Gestifute insisted the company, Tollin, which was established during Ronaldo's time with Manchester United, has acted in accordance with British and Spanish tax laws.

"The accused made use of a corporate structure created in 2010 to hide from the tax authority income generated in Spain through image rights", prosecutors said in a statement.

The Madrid prosecutor said in his 2014 tax return Ronaldo claimed to have recorded revenue from Spanish sources between 2011 and 2013 of 11.5 million euros, though in reality that number was nearly 43 million euros.

According to Forbes, Ronaldo is the world's highest-paid athlete, with $58 million in salary and $35 million in endorsements in 2017.

Madrid have now also offered their support to the four-time Ballon d'Or victor, believing him to be innocent of any wrongdoing.

The footballer, who is the proud dad to six-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo Jr., has previously said he has nothing to hide and is not anxious about the claims.

Messi was handed a 21-month suspended jail sentence past year after being found guilty of similar offences, while his Barcelona teammate Neymar will face trial over alleged irregularities in his 2013 transfer from Brazilian club Santos.

The football world in Spain has been rocked by charges of tax evasion or corruption pressed against some of its top stars.

Cristiano and his mini-me son Cristiano Ronaldo Jr.

Accusations of tax fraud have dogged many of Spain's top players, including Lionel Messi. In a similar situation, Barcelona star Lionel Messi was found guilty of tax fraud a year ago.

Ronaldo could face up to 15-months in prison if found guilty.

Former Barca defender Javier Mascherano also agreed a one-year suspended sentence with authorities for tax fraud last year.

This post was syndicated from The Independent Uganda:.

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  • Julie Sanders