Cristiano Ronaldo accused of $16.5m tax fraud in Spain

Paola Ditto
Giugno 19, 2017

Spanish prosecutors say Real Madrid soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo set up a shell company in the Virgin Islands to help evade paying $16.5 million in taxes, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

They also alleged that Ronaldo greatly reduced his tax rate by falsely reporting that some of his income came from real estate.

A spokeswoman for Ronaldo's management company said there wouldn't be an immediate comment.

It is claimed the player knowingly used his business structure created in 2010 to hide his income in Spain from his image rights.

However, with an income of $93 million, Cristiano Ronaldo is the highest paid athlete in the world, and that is why it raises serious concerns over whether these tax avoidance schemes are a larger problem.

Ronaldo, who led Real Madrid to win both the Spanish league and European Cup, is just the latest high profile soccer player to face prosecution over tax affairs.

A statement released on the club's official website read: "Real Madrid C.F have full confidence in our player Cristiano Ronaldo, who we understand has acted in accordance with legality regarding the fulfilment of his fiscal obligations". A Barcelona court found that the Messis had evaded tax on Lionel's image rights, with more than €4m (£3.5m) owed in back payments.

The economic crime arm of Madrid's Provincial Prosecutor's Office filed a complaint on Tuesday against the Portugal worldwide for allegedly committing four crimes between 2011 and 2014. This, of course, unlikely to happen as he is a first-time non-violent offender.

A four-time Ballon d'Or victor, the 32-year-old is Europe's leading soccer player.

Messi was handed a 21-month suspended jail sentence a year ago 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.

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