Ronaldo ap­pears in court over tax eva­sion claims

Muscat Daily - - AUTO NEWS -

Madrid, Spain - Foot­ball me­gas­tar Cris­tiano Ronaldo ap­peared in court near Madrid on Mon­day ac­cused of evad­ing mil­lions of dol­lars in taxes, the lat­est player to fall foul of Spain's tax­man.

The 32 year old en­tered the court in Pozuelo de Alar­con, a wealthy sub­urb of Madrid where he lives, in a car with tainted win­dows via an un­der­ground garage to avoid the glare of the dozens of cam­eras gath­ered out­side.

The Por­tuguese star - the world's high­est paid ath­lete ac­cord­ing to Forbes mag­a­zine - fol­lows in the steps of his arch-ri­val, Barcelona for­ward and Ar­gentina star Lionel Messi, who was found guilty of the same of­fence last year.

Other foot­ballers have also re­cently run into trou­ble with Spain's tax­man, some of them al­ready con­victed and oth­ers un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Pros­e­cu­tors ac­cuse Ronaldo of hav­ing evaded US$17.3mn in tax.

They al­lege he took "ad­van­tage of a com­pany struc­ture cre­ated in 2010 to hide in­come gen­er­ated in Spain from his im­age rights from tax au­thor­i­ties".

They say this was a "vol­un­tary and con­scious breach of his fis­cal obli­ga­tions in Spain".

‘Con­science clear’

him­self not guilty dur­ing his closed door court ap­pear­ance. He has de­fended him­self, say­ing his "con­science is clear".

His agent's com­pany Ges­ti­fute has also de­nied any "fis­cal set-up" and said "the player didn't hide any­thing".

But the al­le­ga­tions still took their toll on the man with the "CR7" brand.

Ac­cord­ing to press re­ports, Real's all-time top goalscorer, threat­ened to leave Spain over the af­fair, giv­ing sup­port­ers a fright.

He has since hinted he will stay on, telling Span­ish sports daily Marca that he would like to con­tinue to win tro­phies for Real.

Since ex­tend­ing his con­tract last Novem­ber un­til 2021, Ronaldo is the high­est paid sports star in the world with US$93mn earned in 2016-2017, ac­cord­ing to Forbes.

Ronaldo is ex­pected to de­clare

Cris­tiano Ronaldo

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