In July 31, Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo will appear in a Spanish court to testify in a case in which he is accused of evading taxes.
A Spanish state prosecutor claimed Ronaldo failed to pay €14.7 million on image rights earned between 2011 and 2014 and that he used a shell company in the Virgin Islands to “create a screen in order to hide his total income.”
A judge will decide if there are grounds to charge him with a crime and, if there are, the possibility exists that Ronaldo could be sentenced to time in prison.
ESPN FC addresses the main questions pertaining to the case and also asked experts with knowledge of the situation and its context to explain further: Maeve Buckley is director and co-owner of Irish sports marketing agency Line Up Sports; Jorge Sanchez is director of the international tax department at Madrid-based Montero Aramburu.
Ronaldo’s camp claim that he has fulfilled all his tax obligations, hence his agents Gestifute have issued numerous strongly worded denials. Meanwhile, sources close to the player claim the 32-year-old was so upset that he vowed never to play in Spain again.
The Portugal captain’s advisors maintain that the majority of his image-rights income is earned abroad and therefore not liable for Spanish tax. They argue that his 2014 declaration informed the authorities of these revenues (reportedly €5.6m to cover 2009-20). But the prosecutors feel the full amount of tax due is at least €14.7m more, and that for the 2011-14 period only.