Tuesday 16 January 2018

Football 'super-agent' gives €1.3m tax to Mr Noonan

Sports agent Jorge Mendes
Sports agent Jorge Mendes
Jerome Reilly

Jerome Reilly

The football super-agent who represents Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho handed more than €1.3m in Corporation Tax to Finance Minister Michael Noonan, company records obtained by the Sunday Independent reveal.

Portuguese Jorge Mendes was last week revealed as football's most influential agent - racking up transfer deals worth well over €1bn during his career.

The eye-watering tax bill his company paid to the Revenue Commissioners represents small change for Mr Mendes who picked up an €8m cash dividend from his Irish operation in just one year.

The Irish registered company Gestifute International appears to have no full-time employees in Ireland.

Nevertheless huge sums of money were funnelled through the Irish operation, company accounts for 2013 reveal.

Jorge Mendes (48) has masterminded many of the most lucrative deals in world football.

He has forged a particularly close link with Manchester United. Goalkeeper David De Gea (24) is among his clients in the Gestifute stable.

The former nightclub owner has negotiated about €250m in football transfers since December 2013 alone.

During 2013, the year for which the Irish accounts were filed, Mr Mendes was behind the €45m move of Colombian star James Rodriguez from Porto to Monaco and the €60m move of fellow Colombian Radamel Falcao from Athletico Madrid to Monaco. Falcao is now on loan to Manchester United.

Those deals helped Gestifute International turn a pre-tax profit of €10.3m for 2013 - up from €6.4m the previous year.

Last year, Mr Mendes also oversaw the transfer of Angel Di Maria from Real Madrid to Manchester United.

Mr Mendes is also linked to another Irish company called Quality Football Ireland Ltd which has invested millions in buying up the economic rights of up and coming players.

According to accounts filed for Quality Football Ireland, the firm received just over €2.2m from player transfers in August 2013.

Chelsea star Diego Costa, currently serving a three-match ban for standing on an opponent, and Manchester City's Eliaquim Mangala are also in Gestifute's galaxy of soccer stars.

But their Dublin HQ is a small third-floor office in the heart of Dublin's inner city in Foley Street. Ulysses House is also home to 150 other companies.

The decision to base part of his global operations in Dublin is almost certainly linked to tax efficiency. Ireland's corporation tax rate of 12.5pc is undeniably attractive.

Mr Mendes is married with five children. He became involved in football after getting to know soccer players who frequented his first business, a nightclub in the seaside town of Caminha in Portugal.

His nephew, Luis Correia is listed as a director of the Dublin-registered company.

Mr Mendes played football at a semi-professional level in his native Lisbon.

In a rare interview with the BBC last week, Mr Mendes said he believed player wages would keep rising and dismissed plans to ban third-party ownership of players as "illegal" and potentially "catastrophic".

He believes some clubs would be prepared to pay £300m for his biggest client Cristiano Ronaldo, but insisted the player would finish his career at Real Madrid.

Sunday Independent

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