Monday 22 July 2019

Ronaldo fined €19m for tax fraud - but avoids jail

Brave face: Cristiano Ronaldo arrives at court in Madrid with his girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez. Photo: Susana Vera
Brave face: Cristiano Ronaldo arrives at court in Madrid with his girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez. Photo: Susana Vera

Isla Binnie

Soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo has been fined almost €19m for tax fraud but will avoid serving a 23-month prison sentence after agreeing a deal.

Ronaldo, holding hands with his Spanish fiancée Georgina Rodriguez, came out of the court room smiling, pausing to sign autographs before leaving in a black van.

Ronaldo had to enter the courtroom through the front door after his request for special security measures to avoid the spotlight was denied on Monday. His lawyers had argued that given his fame, avoiding the main entrance was needed for his security.

The 33-year-old Juventus star, who played for Real Madrid from 2009 to 2018, agreed to settle the case by paying an €18.8m fine and accepting a suspended jail term. Under Spanish law, a first offender can serve anything less than a two-year sentence under probation and Ronaldo will not have to go to prison. His appearance lasted about 15 minutes as the five-times world footballer of the year only needed to sign off on the agreement.

The trial of Ronaldo's former Real Madrid team mate Xabi Alonso, also in court yesterday over accusations of tax fraud, was suspended, a court magistrate said. Prosecutors were seeking a five-year jail sentence and a fine of €4m for Spaniard Alonso, who retired as a player in 2017.

The former Liverpool star has been accused of defrauding the Spanish state of some €2m between 2010 and 2012.

Alonso said he was confident he had not committed a crime and would have to wait while the magistrates evaluated his case. "I'd be worried if I thought I had something to hide or something I didn't do right but as that isn't the case I am carrying on," Alonso told reporters outside the court.

Irish Independent

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