Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo appeared in court on Monday accused of evading millions of euros in taxes.
The 32-year-old entered the Pozuelo de Alarcon court in Madrid in a car with tinted windows via an underground garage to avoid the glare of the dozens of cameras gathered outside.
The player is expected to speak to the press after his court hearing. A podium was set up outside the courthouse behind metal barriers.
The Portuguese star could follow in the footsteps of Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, who was found guilty of the same offence last year and given a 21-month jail sentence.
Prosecutors accuse Ronaldo of having evaded 14.7m euros in tax. They allege he took “advantage of a company structure created in 2010 to hide income generated in Spain from his image rights from tax authorities”. They say this was a “voluntary and conscious breach of his fiscal obligations in Spain”.
The four-time world player of the year is accused of evading tax via a shell company based in the British Virgin Islands and another in Ireland, known for low corporate tax rates.
In addition, they say the Real Madrid striker only declared 11.5m euros of Spanish-related income from 2011 to 2014, while what he really earned during that time was close to 43m euros.
And finally, they accuse him of “voluntarily” refusing to include 28.4m euros in income linked to the sale of his image rights for the 2015 to 2020 period to a Spanish company.
Ronaldo is expected to declare himself not guilty during his closed door court appearance. He has defended himself, saying his “conscience is clear”.
There were reports earlier this summer that Ronaldo wanted to leave Real Madrid due to the tax allegations.
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