Real Madrid player Cristiano Ronaldo appeared in Spanish court on Monday, where he was questioned about alleged tax fraud.
Ronaldo was questioned for more than 90 minutes by judge Monica Gomez about whether he committed tax fraud worth $17.5 million.
The player’s public relations firm released a statement that explained that the 32-year old told the judge he has “never hidden anything, and never tried to avoid taxes”.
“Spain’s Tax Office knows all the details about my sources of income because we have reported them,” he told the judge, according to the statement. “I always file my tax returns because I think that we should all file and pay our taxes.”
“Those who know me know that I tell my consultants that they must have everything in order and paid up to date because I don’t want trouble.”
In June, Ronaldo was accused by a state prosecutor of four counts of tax fraud worth $16.5 million between 2011 and 2014. The fraud has nothing to do with his salary from Real Madrid, but from income made by image rights.
The prosecutor stated that Ronaldo was using Shell Companies outside of Spain to hide this income, an accusation which the Real Madrid forward denies.
“When I signed for Real Madrid I didn’t create a special business structure to handle my image rights, I kept the same one that had been managing them when I was in England. “It was checked out by the English Tax Office and was found legal and legitimate,” the statement reads.
Last year, Barcelona forward Lionel Messi and his father, Jorge Horacio Messi, were found guilty on three counts of defrauding tax authorities of $4.6 million from income made from image rights. To avoid doing 21 month stints in jail, they both opted to pay heavy fines to have their sentences suspended.