The elite team of ‘sweep­ers’ who ran up $1m bill to keep Ron­aldo’s im­age spot­less



In 2009, two weeks af­ter leav­ing Old Traf­ford with his third Premier League ti­tle medal, Cris­tiano Ron­aldo faced the big­gest cri­sis of his ca­reer. On June 13, be­fore join­ing Real Madrid, he had met model Kathryn May­orga in a Las Ve­gas night­club and in­vited her to a party at his pent­house.

There, she claims he raped her – an al­le­ga­tion he ve­he­mently de­nies.

Within hours, still in tears, she had a rig­or­ous po­lice med­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion.

What fol­lowed ap­pears like some­thing out of a novel. The foot­baller’s aides put to­gether a “team” of the world’s high­est­pow­ered lawyers, de­tec­tives, foren­sic ex­perts, doc­tors and PR spe­cial­ists.

Their goal – to pro­tect their client’s multi-mil­lion-pound rep­u­ta­tion by en­sur­ing the 25-year-old’s ac­cu­sa­tion quickly and qui­etly dis­ap­peared for ever.

Gath­ered from Bri­tain, Ire­land, Por­tu­gal and Amer­ica, they racked up a $1mil­lion le­gal bill in the process.

The fig­ure – al­most three times the amount Ron­aldo even­tu­ally paid Ms May­orga to keep quiet – left him fum­ing.

But his US lawyers made it clear they thought they were worth their fees.

They pointed out that if the Por­tuguese star were to be ex­tra­dited he could, if con­victed, face a life sen­tence.

More im­por­tantly, they stressed his need to avoid an enor­mous hit to his im­age if the al­le­ga­tions ever be­came pub­lic. How­ever, the ef­forts of the “team” have left Ms May­orga’s lawyers so con­cerned they want to over­turn the $375,000 (£287,000) con­fi­den­tial­ity agree­ment she signed.

Last week we re­vealed that her lead at­tor­ney, Les­lie Sto­vall, was to de­mand a probe into the team’s con­duct from Scot­land Yard, Greater Manch­ester Po­lice, Eng­land’s At­tor­ney Gen­eral, the FBI, and the at­tor­ney gen­er­als of Ire­land, Italy and Cal­i­for­nia. All have now had let­ters, as well as In­ter­pol.

Mr Sto­vall said: “We have asked these agen­cies to de­ter­mine whether Ron­aldo and any in­di­vid­u­als and or­gan­i­sa­tions as­so­ci­ated with him have vi­o­lated any laws within their ju­ris­dic­tion.”

The Las Ve­gas lawyer says the non-dis­clo­sure deal was de­signed to “pre­vent or de­lay crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion” of the al­leged as­sault.

He calls it a tar­geted “con­tem­po­ra­ne­ous con­spir­acy” ar­gu­ing: “Hid­ing a crime is a crime.”

But this week Ron­aldo’s new lawyer hit back, claim­ing hack­ers had fab­ri­cated stolen doc­u­ments to make him look guilty. Ex­tracts of these, he claimed, had been pub­lished in Ger­man mag­a­zine Der Spiegel. The “team” came to­gether in mid-2009 af­ter Ron­aldo, 33, told his Por­tuguese lawyer Car­los Osório de Cas­tro about the claims be­ing made. The at­tor­ney told a col­league he had spo­ken to “the kid”, as he calls Ron­aldo, about the al­leged as­sault. Fear­ful of the threat of a

crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion – and the ef­fect it would have on his client’s rep­u­ta­tion – he brought to­gether a crew tasked with en­sur­ing what­ever hap­pened never be­came pub­lic.

The “team”, as they are re­ferred to in le­gal pa­pers, in­cluded a top UK law firm which pro­motes it­self on pro­tect­ing rep­u­ta­tions and has worked with foot­ballers.

In the US, Osório de Cas­tro em­ployed a pit-bull firm of lawyers renowned in me­dia cir­cles. They were claimed to be so ag­gres­sive that one Hol­ly­wood ladies’ man joked they had “f ***** more peo­ple than he had”.

The “team” in­cluded a £360-per­hour ex-po­lice of­fi­cer with good con­tacts in the Ve­gas force, a med­i­cal pro­fes­sional and a foren­sic ex­pert.

The mil­lion-dol­lar unit was lined up against Ms May­orga, who earned a mod­est liv­ing through mod­el­ling. Ac­cord­ing to court pa­pers, Ms May­orga, now 34 and in hid­ing af­ter death threats from fans, al­leges Ron­aldo as­saulted her in a bath­room as she changed to use the hot tub.

She claims that af­ter a po­lice med­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion a nurse and a de­tec­tive told her she would be hu­mil­i­ated if she pur­sued the case.

Fear­ful, she re­fused to press charges and in­stead hired her own at­tor­ney.

Mean­while, it is claimed, the foot­baller’s crew wanted to know ev­ery­thing about his al­leged vic­tim and had a de­tec­tive se­cretly watch­ing her.

He col­lected de­tails about her work his­tory, in­for­ma­tion on park­ing tick­ets and who she voted for.

One note pub­lished in Der Spiegel is claimed to have stated: “Left house last night at 8pm, drove to MGM Ho­tel, parked car and met young man she hugged at the el­e­va­tor.” An­other ob­served that in a restau­rant “she drank red wine, she had more than three glasses of wine”.

Ms May­orga re­alised she was be­ing fol­lowed. Her fa­ther, Larry said: “I took her to kick­box­ing dur­ing this time. I wanted her to learn to de­fend her­self. We were very wor­ried about her.”

The pri­vate eye is claimed to have tried to tap old friends on the force who al­legedly re­vealed they would not op­pose an out-of-court set­tle­ment.

In Septem­ber 2009, Der Spiegel claims Ron­aldo’s team came up with a ques­tion­naire seek­ing ev­ery de­tail of that night in Las Ve­gas.

The re­sults, which are said to have ended up in the hands of Mr Sto­vall via whistle­blow­ing web­site Foot­ball Leaks, now play a key role in the case. In court pa­pers, Mr Sto­vall claims the pur­pose of the “team” was “to ob­struct the crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion and pros­e­cu­tion of Cris­tiano Ron­aldo”.

Re­fer­ring to the team, Mr Sto­vall told the Mir­ror: “We be­lieve, to­gether, these peo­ple worked to try and dis­credit Ms May­orga be­fore then act­ing to stop any crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion from hap­pen­ing.

“My of­fice has writ­ten to Geoffrey Cox [At­tor­ney Gen­eral for Eng­land and Wales], the Met and Greater Manch­ester Po­lice.”

Mean­while, in a sting­ing ri­poste, Ron­aldo’s new US lawyer hit back claim­ing cy­ber-crim­i­nals had fab­ri­cated stolen doc­u­ments to make him look guilty of rape.

Peter Chris­tiansen said data pub­lished by Der Spiegel had been hacked from com­put­ers and al­tered. He claimed the for­ward was a vic­tim of “an elab­o­rate and de­lib­er­ate defama­tion cam­paign based on stolen, eas­ily ma­nip­u­lated dig­i­tal doc­u­ments”.

He added: “It is my un­der­stand­ing that in 2015, dozens of en­ti­ties (in­clud­ing law firms) across many dif­fer­ent in­dus­tries through­out Europe were hacked and their elec­tronic data was stolen.

“This hacker at­tempted to sell this data and one me­dia out­let has now ir­re­spon­si­bly pub­lished the stolen doc­u­ments, sig­nif­i­cant por­tions of which were al­tered and/or com­pletely fab­ri­cated.”

Mr Chris­tiansen said Ron­aldo, who in July signed for Ital­ian club Ju­ven­tus, felt “com­pelled to no longer stand silent” against the ac­cu­sa­tions against him.

SI­LENCED Kathryn May­orga in 2014

SCENE Our man at the apart­ment

MEET­ING Pair pic­tured in Ve­gas club PARTY IN­VITE Ron­aldo asked girl to apart­ment

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