Real Madrid footballer Cristiano Ronaldo is being accused of defrauding millions of euros in tax money by Spanish prosecutors in Madrid.
Prosecutors have filed a lawsuit against Ronaldo accusing him of evading nearly 14.7m euros ($16 million) in taxes from 2011-2014. According to a report by BBC News, representatives for Ronaldo, who is the world’s highest paid soccer player – said it is clear that Ronaldo never tried to evade taxes or hide income from tax authorities.
“It is clear that the football player did not try to evade taxes,” Ronaldo’s Gestifute management company said.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s team, Real Madrid, issued a statement saying they have “full confidence” in their player and will prove that his total innocence. Ronaldo has said that he is also not worried about the case at hand because he has nothing to hide.
In December, documents leaked which suggested Ronaldo was avoiding taxes on income by hiding money in offshore accounts. However, Ronaldo has also denied those allegations against him.
Ronaldo told a journalist from Radio Television Portuguesa (RTP) that “he who owes nothing has nothing to fear.”
Last year Ronaldo earned $93 million (£72m) from salary, bonuses, and endorsements. According to Forbes, Ronaldo was listed as the world’s highest-paid person in sports for the second year in a row.
According to TMZ, if convicted Ronaldo could face up to five years of jail time. However, since Ronaldo is a non-violent first-time offender, it’s highly unlikely he will spend any time behind bars.
Tax evasion is defined as any means used to avoid paying taxes. Cornell Law states, “Typically, tax evasion schemes involve an individual or corporation misrepresenting their income to the Internal Revenue Service. Misrepresentation may take the form either of underreporting income, inflating deductions, or hiding money and its interest altogether in offshore accounts.”