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Has Cristiano Ronaldo dodged tax on image rights through an Irish company?

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Cristiano Ronaldo joins Lionel Messi and Alexis Sanchez on the tax authorities' hit list.

MADRID, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 26:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid reacts during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Real Sporting de Gijon at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on November 26, 2016 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Ronaldo is the latest to get himself embroiled in a tax scandal

Cristiano Ronaldo has reportedly evaded paying tax on his image rights, using dodgy methods which include routing income through an Irish management company. The player is said to become the Spanish tax authorities’ next target. In recent times, a host of players have faced tax problems, including the likes of Lionel Messi and Neymar.

According to Spanish newspaper El Confidencial, the Portuguese star has invoiced most of the revenue generated from advertising through an Irish company, in which the name of the player fails to appear. The company in question, Multisports & Image Management (MIM) Limited, is supposedly being used by the player to avoid paying hefty tax dues on his extravagant image rights.

The cunning move seems carefully planned as Ireland has one of the lowest corporation taxes in Europe. A mere 12.5 percent means that Ronaldo and his management would themselves save a lot of money. Experts believe that the company has no relation with the Real Madrid star, and is based out of Dublin, a tax haven for the rich.

Also read: Alexis Sanchez investigated for tax evasion during his time at Barcelona

According to Spanish authorities, Ronaldo should be paying a massive 43.5 percent in tax for the advertising revenue he generates, and they want all generated income to go through the IRPF. When image rights go through another country, it is not exactly well received by the Spanish tax department, especially when the person resides in their own country and is regarded as a superstar.

Football Leaks have revealed that massive contracts that include companies like KFC, Nike, Unilever, Konami, Toyota, Banco Espirito Santo, Jacob and Co. and Mobily have gone through the Irish company. The list has been detailed with documents and extra information. They did confirm that Cristiano Ronaldo and Cristiano Ronaldo Legacy are registered trademarks owned by MIM.

Image rights are a rather sensitive case, with players like Messi and Mascherano both paying hefty penalties.

Also read: Messi Tax Fraud Case: Do Footballers live in a world without rules?

When approached by the paper, Ronaldo's representatives dismissed all allegations of the player being in trouble with tax authorities. “[Ronaldo] has lived up to his tax obligations since the beginning of his career, as may be confirmed by the tax authorities in Spain, and any of the countries in which he has resided. He has not, and is not involved in any trouble with the tax authorities in any country, and all his activities have been managed according to current legislation.”

The tax authorities haven't yet approached the Euro 2016 winner, but El Confidencial firmly believe that Ronaldo is guilty of dodging tax payments.

More to follow.

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