Cristiano Ronaldo Accused of $16M Tax Fraud in Spain

Spanish prosecutors have filed a lawsuit against Cristiano Ronaldo for alleged tax fraud of £13m (€14.7m) between 2011 and 2014.

Madrid's state prosecutor alleges that Ronaldo used a shell company in the Virgin Islands to "hide his total income" from the Spanish tax authorities.

The complaint came from AEAT, the Spanish tax authority, which claimed the Portuguese player defrauded €1.4m in 2011, €1.7m in 2012, €3.2m in 2013 and €8.5m in 2014. This is a developing story, more details to follow.

Argentinian forward Lionel Messi, who plays for Barcelona, and his father Jorge were convicted of tax fraud in Spain a year ago (16) and handed 21-month jail sentences.

Ronaldo's agency had previously said he was up to date on his taxes.

The prosecutor's office filed the lawsuit against Ronaldo yesterday to a court in the Madrid district of Pozuelo de Alarcon.

He is also the latest high-profile soccer player to run afoul of Spain's tax man.

Messi and Mascherano were found guilty of the charges but have avoided incarceration by paying back taxes and a fine - a common fate for first-time tax offenders in Spain. "All contractual modifications to [the] structure have been made to guarantee that the incomes fully observe the Spanish tax regulation".

Gestifute, the company owned by Ronaldo's agent Jorge Mendes, have so far been unavailable for comment. He led Real Madrid to the Spanish league championship this year and to a successful defense of their Champions League title. When asked about the reports last month, Ronaldo dismissed them and said he had nothing to fear.

Ronaldo, whom Forbes declared the world's highest-earning athlete in 2017, denies the allegations. Los Blancos became the first team to win the Champions League in back-to-back seasons, after defeating Juventus in the final, earlier this month. The sentence was confirmed by the supreme court last month, but Messi is unlikely to face jail time because sentences under two years can be served on probation.

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