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The ins and outs of the Cristiano Ronaldo tax case


Whether or not Cristiano Ronaldo does leave Real Madrid, he will still have his tax case looming over him and must fight to prove his innocence in court.
The Spanish authorities have accused the 32-year-old of committing four crimes of tax fraud between 2011 and 2014, totalling an amount of 14,768,897 euros - 1.39m euros in 2011, 1.66m euros in 2012, 3.2m euros in 2013 and 8.5m euros in 2014.
According to the prosecution, the player was able to avoid paying this money through a society created in 2010 and they argue that this signifies a "voluntary" and a "conscious" avoiding of his tax obligations, even if the player's legal team deny this.
"Ronaldo doesn't know about it, he didn't know about it and he couldn't have known about it," claim the player's lawyers, according to Portuguese publication Expresso.
For his legal team, they hope to avoid comparisons with Lionel Messi's tax case, which ended with the Barcelona player being handed a 21-month suspended prison sentence for defrauding 4.1 million euros.
Although Ronaldo is also being investigated over image rights income, his lawyers want to make clear that the similarities between the two cases end there.
They make the point that he didn't avoid paying tax, but that he went about fulfilling his obligations the wrong way, paying the tax on all image rights income from 2011 to 2014 in 2014, rather than in each individual year, something which they claim was the result of him following the advice given to him.
According to Expresso, three female judges will be presiding over the case - Caridad Gomez Mourelo plus Eva and Victoria, with the surnames of the latter two not given.
The way the process works is that there will be a six-month period in which testimonies will be heard from those involved, including the player, after which the prosecutor will decide if the charges are to be maintained. If they are maintained, Ronaldo will have two months to plead guilty or not guilty.
"Spanish law means that the punishment would fall to two years in prison if the player confesses," explain Expresso.
That would mean that Ronaldo, who could face a seven-year sentence, would eliminate the risk of having to serve jail time, as he'd then be dealing with a suspended sentence.



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