October 18 – Real Madrid star Marcelo is the latest player to be accused by Spanish authorities of tax fraud, this time totalling €490,000.
Prosecutors say the irregularities occurred in 2013 and are related to Marcelo’s use of companies abroad to handle earnings from image rights, a familiar and controversial issue.
Last year, Lionel Messi and his father were found guilty on three fronts of defrauding tax authorities of 4.1 million euros from income made from image rights.
Cristiano Ronaldo is also among those being investigated by Spanish authorities while Barcelona and Brazilian star Neymar is facing allegations of corruption and fraud over his transfer in 2013.
In the complaint against Marcelo, the public prosecutor said the defender, who joined Real Madrid in 2007, had used the tax structure seeking an “illegal fiscal benefit”.
Expert tax lawyer Miles Dean, a founding partner of Milestone International Tax with over 20 years’ experience of advising clients on a wide range of international tax issues, explained the complexities surrounding footballers and image rights which he describes as a “dangerous combination, especially when the cocktail is being stirred by the ever thirsty agent.”
“It appears Marcelo has been hard done by. He settled his tax debts in 2013, which he might legitimately have expected to be the end of the story, only for the Spanish authorities to reopen the case on new grounds, this time targeting his personal tax affairs, rather than corporate.
“It doesn’t appear that any new facts have come to light which would justify this second bite of the cherry, suggesting instead that emboldened Spanish officials simply see footballers as rich pickings.”
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