Cristiano Ronaldo’s tax affairs once again came to light today as the Real Madrid forward appeared before a judge in Madrid to determine whether he had committed a tax fraud of up to £13.5m.
As reported in The Independent, the former Manchester United forward spent more than 90 minutes answering the questions of the investigating judge Monica Gomez, in a closed court.
Ronaldo, 32, used a different entrance to avoid a media scrum near the main door to the court.
However, despite the court saying either Ronaldo or his representatives would make a statement to the media, there was no word from his camp after the court appearance.
Instead, spokesman Inaki Torres briefly announced that Ronaldo “was on his way home.”
Ronaldo has been accused of four counts of tax fraud from 2011-14 worth £13m. The prosecutor has also accused the Portuguese international of having used shell companies outside Spain to hide income made from image rights. The accusation does not involve his salary from Real Madrid and Ronaldo has denied any wrongdoing.
A four-time Ballon d’Or winner, Ronaldo is one of the wealthiest footballers in the world. He has recently taken Madrid to back-to-back Champions League titles and helped Portugal to win last year’s European Championship.
Yet, he will not be the first La Liga player to fall foul of the Spanish taxman. Indeed, Lionel Messi and his father, Jorge Horacio Messi, were found guilty on three counts of defrauding tax authorities of £3.6m from income made from image rights. They have both paid additional fines in exchange for their 21-month jail sentences to be suspended.
Ronaldo’s former Real Madrid teammate Angel di Maria has admitted to tax fraud in exchange for lighter treatment from the law.
In Spanish law, a judge can suspend sentences of less than two years for first-time offenders. Still time for Ronaldo to make a great escape yet, then.