Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo has denied committing any tax fraud after prosecutors in Spain filed a lawsuit accusing him of defrauding tax authorities of £13mn. The prosecutors said that Ronaldo had intentionally used a business created in 2010 to hide his image rights income in Spain between 2011 and 2014.
The prosecutor's office said that Ronaldo had defrauded the tax authorities of £1.23mn in 2011, £1.49mn in 2012, £2.81mn in 2013 and £7.47mn in 2014.
The Portuguese star has since denied committing any tax fraud through the company Gestifute that represents him. The statement said: "There is no tax evasion scheme... There has never been any hiding nor any intention to hide anything."
Gestifute further added that they would publish all the documents required to prove that Ronaldo is innocent and had insisted that the ace player owned that business since his time at Manchester United that both British and Spanish tax authorities had been aware of.
His agency also mentioned that this case could be related to different interpretations between the British and Spanish tax systems over where to declare some revenues. The prosecutors said that when Ronaldo signed for Real Madrid, he surrendered his image rights to a company called Tollin Associates Ltd in which only he was a stakeholder.
Tollin Associates then gave up his image rights to a company in Ireland called Multisports&Image Management Ltd. A statement from the prosecutors said: "Ceding image rights to Tollin Associates was completely unnecessary and its only purpose was to create a screen to conceal the totality of his image rights income from the Spanish tax authorities."
Rolando was recently asked about this ongoing investigation and he told a journalist from Radio Television Portuguesa (RTP) "Quien no debe no teme", which roughly translates as "He who has nothing to hide has no fear."
The chances of Ronaldo going to jail is still not clear but if the Portuguese captain is found guilty and sentenced to 24 months in jail, he can avoid it as under Spanish law, first-time offenders do not have to spend time in prison if the term is for two years or less just like Lionel Messi.
However, Ronaldo's case is much more serious than his Barcelona rival and three times greater in value than Messi's. The case is still in its initial stages and it will take a long time before they come to a decision but Ronaldo and his entourage seems confident that he is innocent.