Wednesday 17 January 2018

Ireland caught up in 'tax-dumping' row over Ronaldo

Portugal and Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Portugal and Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Gareth Morgan

Gareth Morgan

Ireland has been accused of "tax dumping" by a German member of the European Parliament after a report in Spain's 'El Confidencial' newspaper said football star Cristiano Ronaldo had used an Irish company to handle sponsorship contracts.

The Portuguese forward plays for Spanish giants Real Madrid, having previously spent six seasons at Manchester United. His image rights are in demand across the world.

There is nothing to prevent EU nationals from owning companies or having interests in other states.


'El Confidencial' yesterday published what it said were documents showing that an Irish company, Multisports Image Management, agreed a 2012 royalty deal which allowed Saudi Arabian mobile phone company Mobily to use Ronaldo's image in an advertising campaign.

Licensing of image rights is a hugely lucrative and global business.

According to El Confidencial, structuring the deal through Ireland meant Ronaldo avoided the potential 43.5pc Spanish tax rate. Corporation tax here is 12.5pc.

German Green Party MEP Sven Giegold said the case showed a need for a minimum European corporate tax rate. However, papers filed with the Companies Registration Office for Multisports Image Management make no reference to Ronaldo as an owner or director, suggesting that the company may have acted as an agent rather than rights holders in any deal.

Paying corporation tax in Ireland would not exempt any individual from personal taxes in their home jurisdiction.

Irish Independent

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