Cristiano Ronaldo Tells Spanish Judge He ‘Never Tried to Avoid Taxes’

In June, a state prosecutor accused Ronaldo of four counts of tax fraud from 2011 to 2014 worth 14.7 million euros ($16.5 million). Ronaldo was accused of having used shell companies outside Spain to hide income made from image rights. The accusation does not involve his salary from Real Madrid.

Ronaldo denies any wrongdoing.

“Spain’s tax office knows all the details about my sources of income because we have reported them,” Ronaldo told the judge, according to his statement. “I always file my tax returns because I think that we should all file and pay our taxes.

“Those who know me know that I tell my consultants that they must have everything in order and paid up to date because I don’t want trouble.”

Before and after his court appearance, Ronaldo used an alternative entrance to avoid a swarm of more than a hundred journalists from Spain and abroad gathered near the main door to the court.

Court officials had said that either Ronaldo or his lawyer would speak to the media after he saw the judge, but instead the player’s spokesman, Inaki Torres, announced in front of the courthouse that Ronaldo “was on his way home.”

The prosecutor said in June that Ronaldo used what was deemed a shell company in the Virgin Islands to “create a screen in order to hide his total income from Spain’s tax office.”

The inquiry into Ronaldo’s financial arrangements is among recent high-profile tax cases involving soccer’s top names in Spain.

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 euros ($4.6 million) from income made from image rights. They have both paid additional fines in exchange for their 21-month jail sentences to be suspended.

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