MADRID: World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo has become the latest superstar in Spanish football – after, notably, Leo Messi – to fall foul of the tax authorities, in his case to the tune of €14.7m.
Madrid’s regional state prosecutor has accused the Real Madrid and Portugal forward of four counts of tax fraud between 2011 and 2014. The club has stated its “absolute faith” in the player and confidence that he will be absolved.
The prosecutor said that Ronaldo “took advantage of a business structure created in 2010 to hide from fiscal authorities income generated in Spain from image rights” through a shell company based in the Virgin Islands.
The prosecutor also alleges that Ronaldo “intentionally” failed to declare €28.4m of income generated by an image rights deal with another Spanish company from 2015.
It is claimed that Ronaldo’s real income from 2011 to 2014 was €43m while the footballer allegedly stated in a 2014 tax return that his income for the period had been €11.5m. The prosecutor also said that Ronaldo had claimed falsely that the income had been generated through real estate, thereby “greatly” reducing his tax bill.
Spain’s tax authority said last month that Ronaldo had adjusted his tax declarations in order to pay an extra €6m into the coffers in 2014.
The prosecutor said that the case involving Barcelona forward Lionel Messi had served as a precedent to bring the case. Messi was convicted of tax fraud for unpaid income from image rights last year.
a statement from Ronaldo’s management company Gestifute insisted the company, Tollin, which was established during Ronaldo’s time with Manchester United, has acted in accordance with British and Spanish tax laws.
Tuesday evening’s statement read: “Cristiano Ronaldo signed for Real Madrid in 2009 under the Law of Impatriots, legislation in force and prevailing then, and he was taxed only for the incomes that were attributable to Spain.
“The Prosecutor’s Office says that the player declared the income derived from the transfer of image rights as income from movable capital to evade taxes.
“The laws applicable to Cristiano Ronaldo are the Personal Income Tax Law and the Impatriots Law. In Articles 25.4 and 13.1.F3, respectively, it is clear that the player’s income for image rights is considered to be as movable capital and will only exceptionally be income from an economic activity.
“The player declared to the Tax Authorities 100 per cent of the part attributable to Spain of Tollin’s income and his image rights during the periods 2009-2014 and 2015-2020. All this according to the criteria set by the United Kingdom Treasury to determine that part of the image transfer revenue was originated in that country, which shows that there was no intention to defraud.
“In conclusion: the declared amount can be discussed, but it is clear that the football player did not try to evade taxes.”