SWITZERLAND, JUNE 4 – Atletico Madrid striker, Diego Costa, has been sentenced to six months in prison for tax offences, but due to Spanish law, he will pay a hefty fine to avoid serving the time.
According to court filing published last month, the 31-year-old did not declare payments of just over €5m (£4.4m) from his 2014 transfer from Atletico to Chelsea in his tax return, as well as more than €1m (£900,000) in image rights. He has now been handed a total fine of €543,000 (£482,000).
Due to the fact that Spanish law allows penal sentences below two years for non-violent crimes to be exchanged for a financial penalty, Diego Costa agreed to pay an additional fine of €36,500 (£32,000) on top of the €507,000 (£450,000) to avoid prison time.
Speaking ahead of his court visit on Thursday, an Atletico spokesman told Reuters:
‘Diego Costa reached an agreement a few months ago with the prosecutor and has already paid the corresponding fine plus interest and the request for a prison sentence was withdrawn.’
‘This week it is expected that agreement will be ratified in court, as is mandatory.’
Diego Costa joins the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo and ex-Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho, who all have been involved in tax fraud. None of them served prison time but did pay hefty fines.
Costa has been a bit-part player for Atletico this season, making just eight starts in La Liga and scoring only twice.