July 31 – Cristiano Ronaldo was due to appear in a Spanish court later today, accused of evading millions of Euros in tax.
The 32-year-old Real Madrid superstar, the latest player to allegedly fall foul of the Spanish tax authorities, will be questioned by a court in Pozuelo de Alarcon, a wealthy suburb of Madrid where he lives, after returning from a summer break and a promotional trip to China.
The case of Ronaldo – the world’s highest paid athlete according to Forbes magazine – follows that of arch-rival Lionel Messi, who was found guilty of the same offence last year.
Prosecutors accuse the Portuguse forward of having evaded €14.7 million in tax, claiming the four-time world player of the year routed image rights income through a network of companies – including one in the British Virgin Islands and another in Ireland – to avoid paying the relevant taxes from 2011 to 2014.
Ronaldo insists saying his conscience is clear and his agent’s company Gestifute has also denied any “fiscal set-up” saying their client “didn’t hide anything”.
Some press reports have suggested Real’s all-time top goalscorer might leave Spain because of the furore but he is expected to stay on and join up with the squad on August 5, though apparently he is unlikely to feature in the European Super Cup against Manchester United in Skopje on August 8.
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