Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, on Tuesday, returned to Madrid for a court appearance over his tax fraud case that took place while he was playing for Real Madrid. At the hearing, the Juventus footballer admitted to committing tax fraud and has agreed to pay an €18.8m (£16.5m) fine. The fine payment comes after his deal with prosecutors and tax authorities. Ronaldo pleaded guilty and he also agreed to pay the penalty in order to avoid a 23-month suspended prison sentence. According to the Spanish law, a judge can cancel jail sentences of two years or less for first-time offenders.
Additionally, the non-violent nature of Ronaldo’s offence is the reason behind him not having to go to jail and rather serving it on probation. Ronaldo’s court appearance lasted for just 15 minutes since he accepted the deal offered by prosecutors. The star footballer left the court with a broad smile as he was accompanied by his fiance, Georgina Rodriguez. “I am very well,” said the footballer to reporters present outside the court. He also greeted his fans and signed a few autographs before heading back to his car.
Ronaldo has been accused of cheating tax authorities between the years 2011 and 2014. He reportedly evaded tax amounting to €14.8m (£12.9m). Tax officials claimed that Ronaldo did not declare his income of around £25m from image rights. In 2017, the prosecutors insisted on handing over Ronaldo for a 23-month prison sentence. However, the footballer in his testimony denied all wrongdoing and told the judge that he felt victimised by Spanish Authorities.
Apart from Ronaldo, his former colleague Xabi Alonso, too, was accused of €2m tax fraud from 2010-12. Alonso too appeared in court on Tuesday. He too denied all his wrongdoings and told waiting reporters that all was good with his case.