Cristiano Ronaldo Fined $21.6 Million for Tax Fraud, Settles for No Jail Time
Cristiano Ronaldo will pay nearly 19 million euros — or $21.6 million — and is avoiding jail time after he pleaded guilty to four counts of tax fraud in Spain on Tuesday, multiple outlets have reported
Cristiano Ronaldo will pay nearly 19 million euros — or $21.6 million — and is avoiding jail time after he pleaded guilty to four counts of tax fraud in Spain on Tuesday, multiple outlets have reported.
According to the Associated Press, following almost a four-year investigation, the soccer star, 33, spent around 45 minutes in court in Madrid signing the agreement, which also included a suspended 23-month jail sentence. He won’t spend any time in prison, because in Spain, a first and nonviolent offender can serve anything less than a two-year sentence under probation, Reuters reported.
Ronaldo’s reps did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
As Ronaldo exited the courthouse, according to the AP, he was seen smiling and holding hands with his girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez, 24, as he said in front of a crowd of reporters, “It’s done.” He had asked to enter the building through the back door to avoid media attention, but the request was denied.
The five-time winner of Europe’s Ballon d’Or was accused of refusing to pay taxes in Spain between 2010 and 2014, according to BBC. At the time, he was playing for the Spanish capital’s team, Real Madrid.
Prosecutors claimed that the profits the athlete made off image-rights deals were deliberately “funneled through low-tax companies in foreign nations” so Ronaldo could avoid paying the required tax, according to BBC. In 2017, prosecutors alleged his actions were a “voluntary and conscious breach of his fiscal obligations in Spain,” the outlet added. The investigation into Ronaldo’s income, which began in 2015, found his alleged tax fraud was worth $16.7 million, according to AP.
Ronaldo’s lawyers argued that he misunderstood what was required by Spanish law. The father of four first agreed to plead guilty in June 2018, according to AP.
The Juventus forward is also currently facing a civil lawsuit in the United States. In September, he was accused of raping a woman in a Las Vegas hotel room in 2009.
In a civil suit filed in Nevada’s Clark County District Court, Kathryn Mayorga alleged that Ronaldo sexually assaulted her and later paid her to cover up the incident, according to court documents available online.
Mayorga also claimed that Ronaldo’s team coerced her into signing a nondisclosure and settlement agreement in 2010. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s investigation into the allegations was reopened in October 2018.
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In a Jan. 10 statement to CNN, Ronaldo’s attorney Peter S. Christiansen said, “Mr. Ronaldo has always maintained, as he does today, that what occurred in Las Vegas in 2009 was consensual in nature, so it is not surprising that DNA would be present, nor that the police would make this very standard request as part of their investigation.”
Ronaldo’s attorney did not respond to PEOPLE’s previous request for comment.