Ronaldo escapes jail sentence accepting €18.8m deal over tax evasion | 2019-01-22

Ronaldo escapes jail sentence accepting €18.8m deal over tax evasion

Sun Online Desk

22nd January, 2019 04:48:48 printer

Ronaldo escapes jail sentence accepting €18.8m deal over tax evasion

Ronaldo arrives at the court with his fiancee Georgina Rodriguez

Football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has finally settled a deal with a court in Madrid over tax evasion charges, accepting an €18.8m (£16.6m) fine.


A huge media presence met the player outside the court, after a judge refused his request to appear by video or to enter the building by car to avoid the spotlight, reports BBC.


The deal, agreed in advance, includes a 23-month jail sentence.


However, Ronaldo would not spend a day in prison as sentences of up to two years are generally not enforced in Spain for first-time offenders in non-violent crimes.


According to the settlements, he in turn will give the final sentence on Tuesday or the coming days, according to a spokesman for the court in northern Madrid.


Madrid prosecutors opened a probe into Ronaldo in June 2017 and he was questioned in July that same year.


"I have never hidden anything, nor have I had the intention of evading taxes," he told the court then, according to a statement from the sports agency which represents him, Gestifute.

Prosecutors accuse him of having used companies in low-tax foreign jurisdictions -- notably the British Virgin Islands and Ireland -- to avoid having to pay the tax due in Spain on his image rights between 2011 and 2014.


His lawyers said there had been a difference in interpretation of what was and was not taxable in Spain.


The deal between Spain's taxman and his lawyers has allowed Ronaldo to avoid having to sit through a long trial that could have damaged his image and seen him handed a heftier sentence.


Ronaldo is not the only footballer to have fallen foul of Spain's tax authorities.


Barcelona's Lionel Messi, once Ronaldo's big La Liga rival, paid a two-million-euro fine in 2016 in his own tax wrangle and received a 21-month jail term.


The prison sentence was later reduced to a further fine of 252,000 euros, equivalent to 400 euros per day of the original term.