After Messi, Spanish tax authorities go after Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo faces Rs 107 tax fraud charge in Spain. Spanish prosecutors have accused Ronaldo of defrauding the authorities of €14.8m (INR 107 Cr) tax.

Spanish prosecutors say that the soccer icon sought to hide at least a part of his wealth from the country’s tax authorities. They allege that he failed to declare earnings, including from the exploitation of his image rights, between 2011 and 2014, notifying earnings of €11.5m (INR 83 Cr) instead of €43m (INR 310 Cr) over that period.

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“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. Ronaldo had failed to comply with his tax obligations in a manner that was both “voluntary” and “conscious”, the authorities added.

The prosecutor’s office in Madrid says it has filed a lawsuit against the Portuguese player.
Whereas contradictory to this, representatives of the world’s highest paid footballer said there had never been concealment, or the slightest intention to conceal. “It is clear that the football player did not try to evade taxes,” Ronaldo’s management company said.

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Ronaldo himself had previously said he was not worried about tax investigations as he had nothing to hide. In December, leaked documents suggested that he had avoided tax on income allegedly held in offshore accounts. When asked about that investigation, he told a journalist from Radio Television Portuguesa in Spanish, “He who has nothing to hide, has no fear”.
Ronaldo is the world’s highest-paid sports-person for the second successive year, according to Forbes’ list.