Tax fraud: Ronaldo to pay Spanish authorities £17million

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Cristiano Ronaldo will attend a court hearing in Madrid on Tuesday to agree to a settlement worth over £17m with the Spanish tax authorities.

The Portuguese will avoid jail after coming to a plea agreement that sees a custodial sentence suspended, and is flying in from his new home in Turin to attend the hearing.
Ronaldo is accused of defrauding Spanish tax laws between 2011 and 2014 after selling his image rights to an offshore company.

The 33-year-old forward denied all accusations against him in 2017 but has since come to an agreement with prosecutors. Despite asking for extra security measures to access the court on Tuesday, authorities in Madrid denied the former Real Madrid striker any special treatment.

Officials say Tuesday’s hearing will be short, and only require Ronaldo to confirm he accepts the deal.

Ronaldo’s agent in Portugal did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.

In 2017, Ronaldo denied the accusation that he knowingly used a business structure created to allegedly hide income his image rights generated.

He had paid a fine of 5.7 million euros, plus interest of about 1 million euros, in July 2018, the prosecutor’s office said last week.

Between 2005 and 2010, the so-called “Beckham law” allowed foreign soccer players in Spain to curb their tax payments.

It was lifted as financial crisis strained state coffers and prosecutors set their sights on the tax affairs of household names of the soccer world including Ronaldo and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi.

Ronaldo’s former team mate Xabi Alonso is also due in court on Tuesday to respond to charges in a separate tax fraud case, in which prosecutors are seeking a five-year jail term and a 4 million fine.

Alonso, who was part of Spain’s World Cup-winning national team before retiring from the game in 2017, is accused of defrauding the Spanish state of two million euros between 2010 and 2012. He has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

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