Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo denied hiding millions of euros in income at court hearing on alleged tax evasion near the Spanish capital on Monday where he was charged with tax evasion.
The Portuguese footballer is the world’s highest paid sportsman according to Forbes magazine.
He follows in the footsteps of his arch-rival, Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, who was found guilty of the same offense last year.
According to him;
“I have never hidden anything, nor have I had the intention of evading taxes,” Ronaldo, 32, told the court, according to a statement from the sports agency which represents him, Gestifute.
“I always voluntarily file my tax returns because I think we all must file a return and pay taxes according to our income. Those that know me, know what I ask my advisors: that they have everything up to date and properly paid, because I don’t want problems.”
Accused of having evaded 14.7 million euros ($17.3m) in tax, he entered and left the court in Pozuelo de Alarcon, a wealthy suburb of Madrid where he lives, via an underground garage to avoid the press.
Prosecutors accuse the four-time world player of the year of evading tax via a shell company based in the British Virgin Islands and another in Ireland, known for low corporate tax rates.
In addition, they say the Real Madrid striker only declared 11.5 million euros ($13.6m) of Spanish-related income from 2011 to 2014, while what he really earned during that time was close to 43 million euros ($50.8m).
They also accuse him of “voluntarily” refusing to include 28.4 million euros ($33.6m) in income linked to the sale of his image rights for the 2015 to 2020 period to a Spanish company.