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Brazilian Soccer Star Ronaldo Accused of Tax Evasion

23 Juin 2017

The Telegram reports prosecutors accuse the soccer star of defrauding Spain's tax office of 1.4 million euros in 2011, 1.7 million euros in 2012, 3.2 million euros in 2013 and 8.5 million euros in 2014.

Ronaldo, the prosecutor claims, took advantage of a company created in 2010, the year after he signed for Madrid, to "hide from the treasury the incomes generated in Spain" from his image rights.

"There has never been any hiding nor any intention to hide anything", Gestifute, the agency representing the Real Madrid player, said in a statement. Ronaldo had failed to comply with his tax obligations in a manner that was both "voluntary" and "conscious".

Now ranked the world's highest paid athlete, the 32-year-old player has been accused of funneling money to offshore companies located in the Virgin Islands and Ireland, known for their low corporate tax rates.

Ronaldo is not the first Spanish football player to be hit with tax fraud accusations.

Spanish prosecutors sued the soccer superstar Tuesday for tax evasion, according to Bloomberg's Tariq Panja.

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The prosecution said Ronaldo had taken advantage of a corporate structure created in 2010 that served to hide the iconic player's income derived from his image rights.

Ronaldo is the latest in a line of footballers to have problems with Spanish tax authorities, with Lionel Messi the highest profile player to be affected.

Ronaldo, 32, a four-time Ballon d'Or victor, is not the first high-profile footballer to find himself the target of legal action by the Spanish tax authorities.

In one high-profile case Barcelona's Lionel Messi was handed a 21-month jail sentence and a 2.1-million-euro fine after being convicted on tax-fraud charges previous year.

On Tuesday, the Madrid state prosecutor cited the verdict against Messi as legal precedent for the case against Ronaldo. Neither Messi, however, is expected to serve prison time since it was a first offense.