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Reports: Cristiano Ronaldo set to face tax probe

Cristiano Ronaldo could be in the same court as his great foe Lionel Messi if these tax-dodging allegations are proved true

News 20 May 2017, 10:50 IST

What’s the story?

Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is all set to face a probe into his tax returns between 2009 and 2011, as per reports in the Spanish daily El Confidencial. Spanish tax authorities are all set to file their claim of irregularities, specifically pertaining to his overseas image rights. It is their claim that Ronaldo did not pay the entire amount due of his earnings of 150 million Euros from image rights during that two year period as representatives for Ronaldo had used a complex network of shell companies to divert the funds to the tax haven that is the British Virgin Islands.

Speaking to El Confindencial, Ronaldo’s agency said  “In accordance with the “Beckham Act,” which [Ronaldo] was subject to at the time in question, he was only obliged to pay tax on image rights earnings generated in Spain and not on those from abroad.”

They also maintained that there was never any intention from Ronaldo or his advisors to commit a fraudulent act. 

In case you didn’t know

This had all started when an initial allegation was levelled against Ronaldo by German daily Der Spiegel and Spanish paper El Mundo based on the information provided by Football leaks – the sporting world’s very own version of wikileaks. The same report had also levelled similiar accusations against another one of Jorge Mendes’ clients Jose Mourinho.

The heart of the matter

Cristiano Ronaldo has denied any wrongdoing and his agency (Jorge Mendes’ Gestifute) released his tax records when the accusation first appeared – showing the Portuguese captain had 203 million Euros of offshore earnings in 2015. The tax authorities, however, are now working on an audit which claims that Ronaldo paid only 5.6 million Euros on his overseas income from image rights between 2009 and 2015 – a sum that approximates to only 4% of his overall earnings.

What next?

The statute of limitations on this case will expire on June 30, and authorities have until then to file their complaints. It had been reported earlier that Ronaldo had previously paid a huge amount of money to regularize his tax situation in Spain, but if the authorities press charges within the deadline given, the superstar may yet have to cough up for the Spanish treasury

Author’s Take

Innocent until proven guilty – that is how the law works, and we will go with the same ambit when it concerns football’s potential tax dodgers. Having said tax evasion is a serious crime and seeing as how you and I would be persecuted to the ends of the earth for any such charges, it holds to reason that authorities should do their utmost to get to the truth of the situation. Until then, all we can do is hope that Ronaldo keeps his mind of these accusations and continues to thrill us with his unique brand of footballing magic. 

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