Cristiano Ronaldo has settled his tax fraud case in a deal which will cost him €18.8 million (£16.5 million).
The footballer appeared in a Spanish court today (January 22) on charges of tax fraud, accepting a fine and a suspended jail term.
The Portuguese striker pleaded guilty after he struck a deal last year with Spanish authorities to settle the case.
As reported by the Independent, Ronaldo is unlikely to serve any jail time as the sentence prosecutors have requested is within a two-year threshold.
Under Spanish law, sentences under two years are not regularly served in prison; the 23-month suspended term the footballer is likely to face can therefore be served on probation as a first offence under Spanish law.
The 33-year-old was denied the opportunity to enter the building by car or appear via video, and was unable to avoid the massive media presence outside the courtroom.
The court appearance lasted only a few minutes, as Ronaldo simply accepted the deal that had already been offered to him by prosecutors, the BBC reports.
The footballer, who is often referred to as one of the world’s best players, was accused of tax avoidance in Spain between 2010 and 2014, when he was playing for Real Madrid and based in the Spanish capital.
In court, Ronaldo acknowledged four incidents amounting to €5.7 million owed, according to Spanish-language news agency EFE.
The allegations of tax fraud first emerged in 2017, with the BBC reporting that prosecutors said it was a ‘voluntary and conscious breach of his fiscal obligations in Spain’.
However, Ronaldo’s lawyers said it was simply a misunderstanding over what was and was not required under Spanish law, and deny any deliberate attempt on the footballer’s behalf to avoid paying tax.
The Mirror reports, upon leaving the court, the 33-year-old uttered the words ‘all good’ to the media gathered outside.
As though to prove how ‘good’ things really were, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner wasted no time getting back to normal, stopping to sign a football shirt for a fan outside court.
Sports journalist Christoph Winterbach tweeted about the incident, sharing pictures of Ronaldo as he left the court with girlfriend Georgina Rodríguez.
Cristiano Ronaldo just accepted a suspended jail sentence and a multimillion € fine for tax fraud. After leaving the court building, the criminal signed a jersey for a fan.
Cristiano Ronaldo just accepted a suspended jail sentence and a multimillion € fine for tax fraud. After leaving the court building, the criminal signed a jersey for a fan. (Screenshots from @LaVanguardia) pic.twitter.com/hpuYi2vIsB
— Christoph Winterbach (@derWinterbach) January 22, 2019
Last year, it was reported Ronaldo had already made his first transfer of £12.1 million, with the remaining £4.7 million yet to be paid.
I mean, if he can just hand out £12.1 million in one go then I’m pretty sure he’s not struggling for cash. His multi-million loss is probably how I’d feel after losing a fiver.
In fact, he’s reported to earn €31 million a year at Juventus so his fine is about half his yearly salary. Basically, he’s not likely to miss it too much.
His smile upon leaving court doesn’t seem indicative of a man who’s lost their remaining life savings…
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).