News analysis |
Both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are said to be the best footballers of this generation, in fact, many argue they are the best the world has produced. The healthy rivalry between the two has always seen them produce magnificence on the football pitch with record breaking goals and countless awards. They have had a race of getting goals and to get the most Ballon d’Or awards, to prove that they are indeed the best. This rivalry has also gotten to the point of Tax evasion charges. When at first, the Barcelona Super star Messi was charged by the Spanish courts for tax evasion and Ronaldo soon followed suit.
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“Since 2015 Cristiano Ronaldo has ceded his image rights to a third party, paying independently the taxes due,” it said. “He currently pays his taxes in Spain, and is one of the biggest individual contributors in the whole country.”- Gestifute statement
Ronaldo was accused of evading €14.7m ($17.3m) in tax and though he was expected to make a statement after the pretrial hearing, he left without uttering a single word. Keeping in mind that the Barcelona star had been awarded a 21-month prison sentence, which was later changed to a fine of €252,000, t he Madrid star is being accused of €10.6m more than his arch rival.
Ronaldo went to the court and presented his evidence, and managed to dodge the media using an underground garage. Reports indicate that Ronaldo spent an hour-and-a-half giving evidence at a court in the Madrid suburb of Pozuelo de Alarcón.
“When I signed for Real Madrid, I did not create a special structure to manage my image rights, I just kept the way they were managed when I was in England” Gestifute statement
According to the charges filed against him, Ronaldo allegedly took “advantage of a company structure created in 2010 to hide income generated in Spain from his image rights from tax authorities”, which was a “voluntary and conscious breach of his fiscal obligations in Spain”.
“I believe in justice and I hope that, also, in this case, there is a just decision. And with the goal of avoiding any unnecessary pressures or contributing to any kind of ‘parallel justice,’ I have decided that I will not make any more comments about this issue until the decision is made.”-Ronaldo in his Gestifute statement
A Gestifute statement was released to the press after two hours which stated that “the Spanish tax service [Hacienda] knows the detail of all my income because we have given it to them. I have never hidden anything, nor did have I ever had the intention of evading taxes.” The Gestifute statement went on to say that the accusation that a special company was created when Ronaldo joined Real Madrid from Manchester United in 2009 to keep his image rights income away from the Spanish tax authorities was untrue.
Based on the evidence heard on Monday, Judge Mónica Gómez Ferrer will then decide whether to take the case forward and set a trial date. If found guilty, Ronaldo could be ordered to pay back taxes and a fine of “at least €28 million” and as high as “€50 million”.