Real Madrid star, Christiano Ronaldo attended a Spanish court where he was accused of evading millions in tax.
Ronaldo, who is reportedly the worlds highest paid athlete, faced allegations that he had evaded €14.7m (£13.1m) in tax.
Prosecutors of the case have accused Ronaldo of a “voluntary and conscious breach of his fiscal obligations in Spain” and of taking “advantage of a company structure created in 2010 to hide income generated in Spain from his image rights from tax authorities.”
Both the footballer and his management have denied the allegations stating that his “conscience is clear”.
It was expected that Ronaldo would make a statement after the pre- trial hearing.
However, after spending half an hour with the judges providing evidence on the case, he left without making a comment.
This is not the first time the Spanish Tax Authorities have pursued a footballer for tax evasion.
Previously, the authorities had imposed a 21 month prison sentence on Barcelona’s Lionel Messi who was found guilty of evading €4.1m in tax.
Earlier in July, the court ruled that Messi could avoid serving prison time if he paid €252,000.
In Ronaldo’s case, experts at the Spanish Inland Revenue suggest that if the case goes to trial and he is found guilty, Ronaldo could face a minimum of 28m in fines and a prison sentence of three and a half years.
Media and public interest in the case continues to grow.
“This case in Spain shows interesting parallels with the UK tax authorities and difficulties with prosecuting cases with the conflicting issues of knowledge and responsibility. HMRC’s civil approach to investigations do not give the tax payer much room to separate themselves from the responsibility element. When a case crosses into the criminal arena the ability to prove knowledge becomes much greater when faced with cases such as these.”
If you or your firm are facing allegations of fraud offences and you would like advice on how best to protect you and your business, contact us on 0808 168 5550 or email email@example.com.