May 26 – Having already snared one of the two best players in world football in Lionel Messi, the Spanish tax evasion scandal could be about to involve the other after prosecutors revealed they are considering whether Cristiano Ronaldo should face charges over allegations that he defrauded the authorities of €15 million between 2011 and 2014.
Spanish reports say the country’s tax office has passed a file to prosecutors, who will decide whether to press charges against the Portuguese Real Madrid superstar.
In December, several news outlets received ‘Football Leaks’ documents that claimed Ronaldo had avoided tax on income from image rights allegedly held in offshore accounts in the British Virgin Islands, a tax haven.
Ronaldo’s agents vehemently denied the claims and said the 32-year-old was “fully compliant with his tax obligations.”
Prosecutors say they have until the end of June to decide whether to charge Ronaldo and that if he was subsequently found guilty by a court, he would face a prison sentence of at least 15 months – one quarter of the five years tax authorities have requested. Like Messi, however, it would be unlikely Ronaldo would go to jail because of Spain’s policy for first-time offenders.
The allegations came one day after Spain’s supreme court upheld Messi’s 21-month suspended sentence over his conviction of tax fraud last year.
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