New Delhi: Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo will pay a tax fine of almost 19 million euros ($A30 million) and be sentenced to two years in prison, which will be suspended, under a plea deal with Spanish authorities.
Ronaldo, who will reside in Italy as a Juventus player, will not enter prison in exchange for pleading guilty to four cases of tax fraud.
The agreement reached between tax authorities and the player’s lawyers was pending the Spanish Treasury’s approval on Thursday, as it had been the body that brought charges against Ronaldo.
The forward was charged on four counts of tax fraud between 2011-2014 amounting to 14.8 million euros. The amounts allegedly defrauded were 1.39 million euros in 2011, 1.66 million in 2012, 3.2 million in 2013 and 8.5 million in 2014.
The final agreement reduces the amount defrauded to 5.7 million euros, to which fines and interest must be added, totalling almost 19 million euros. Sources consulted by EFE said that Ronaldo would also carry the legal costs of the cases.
Observers, including KPMG’s Football Benchmark group, argue that having joined Italian side Juventus this summer, Ronaldo will enjoy a more beneficial fiscal situation, paying a flat total of €100,000 tax on all image rights income earned outside of his new country of residence.
Spanish courts have recently cracked down on tax evasion among leading footballers, following the lifting of the so-called “Beckham Law” that allowed them to curb their taxes. Barcelona’s Lionel Messi was handed a 21-month prison sentence in 2017 on similar charges but under Spanish law was able to exchange the penalty for a fine.
Ronaldo earns an estimated $93m (€80m) a year, according to Forbes, with approximately half coming from image rights deals with his many sponsors.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho denied he owed any further taxes when he appeared in court in Madrid in October 2017, while players Radamel Falcao, Fabio Coentrao, Pepe, Ricardo Carvalho, and Angel Di Maria have all also had similar image rights issues.