Cristiano Ronaldo Appears in Spanish Court for Tax Evasion
Cristiano Ronaldo has appeared at a Spanish court where he was facing allegations he evaded millions in tax.
Prosecutors accuse the soccer star, reported to be the world’s highest paid athlete, of evading €14.7 million ($17.3 million) in tax.
Cristiano Ronaldo, 32, had been expected to make a statement after the pre-trial hearing, but left without saying a word.
The Real Madrid player has previously denied the allegations, saying his “conscience is clear”.
Cristiano Ronaldo is the latest in a string of soccer players to be pursued by the Spanish tax authorities.
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Lionel Messi, who plays for Barcelona, was handed a 21-month prison sentence after being found guilty of the same charge last year.
Earlier this month, the court ruled he could pay €252,000 in place of jail time.
However, Lionel Messi was only accused of evading €4.1 million in tax, €10.6 million less than Cristiano Ronaldo.
Cristiano Ronaldo spent an hour-and-a-half giving evidence to judges at a court in the Madrid suburb of Pozuelo de Alarcón on July 31, dodging the media camped outside by arriving and leaving via an underground garage.
According to prosecutors, Cristiano Ronaldo allegedly took “advantage of a company structure created in 2010 to hide income generated in Spain from his image rights from tax authorities”, which was a “voluntary and conscious breach of his fiscal obligations in Spain”.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s management has also denied the allegations.
However, if the case is sent to trial and Cristiano Ronaldo is found guilty, the Portuguese forward could face a fine of “at least €28 million” and a prison sentence of three-and-a-half years, the Gestha union of experts at Spain’s Inland Revenue says.