Friday 20 April 2018

Cristiano Ronaldo to testify in tax fraud case on July 31 as speculation over his Real Madrid future rumbles on

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo

Ben Burrows

Cristiano Ronaldo will testify in his tax fraud case next month.

The Real Madrid star is accused of defrauding Spanish authorities of €14.7m (£12.95m) between 2011 and 2014 and will now testify on July 31, it has been confirmed.

Ronaldo took legal advantage of what is known in Spain as 'the Beckham law' - which allows foreign sportspersons to pay 24.75% income tax, rather than the 48% applied to Spanish nationals. Athletes must still, however, pay taxes on other income earned in Spain.

In Ronaldo's case, the former Manchester United winger is accused of having diverted some €150m of advertising revenue through a shell company in the British Virgin Islands.

Meanwhile, Florentino Perez admitted he has not spoken with the Portuguese about his desire to leave the club in the wake of the investigations.

But the 70 year-old, speaking in an interview to mark his unopposed re-election as the club's supreme leader, backed the Portuguese star in his battle to clear his name of tax offences and insisted that the former Manchester United man remains a Madrid player

"Cristiano has a contract and he is a Real Madrid player," Perez told Spanish radio station Onda Cero. "I have not talked with Cristiano.... but they tell me has been treated badly in this country. I have found everything out through the newspapers.

"The last time that I talked with Cristiano was in Cardiff, after the game. What happened with the tax authorities was after the game. Life throws up unexpected situations but one has to take them on and find a solution."

Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain are the two clubs most keenly pursuing the 31-year-old forward's signature, but Perez skipped over talk of a sale by pricing Ronaldo out of the market.

"The clause for Cristiano is £1bn. We have not had an offer from Cristiano... the Sheikh at PSG is a friend of mine and he hasn't called me nor have we talked. This is all very strange. Cristiano is a good guy, I will have to talk with Cristiano and see what's happening."

And Perez vigorously backed the Portugal skipper, claiming he will be cleared of tax charges against his name and dismissing suggestions Ronaldo's desire to leave could be remedied by the club picking up any potential fine.

"I will always defend Cristiano as a person and as a footballer. He's a very good person. Cristiano definitely didn't want us to pay his fine... he isn't like that. I'm sure that Cristiano meets all his tax requirements, it must be a confusion that will be cleared up.

"Cristiano is not angry about who has to pay his fine. The only thing I know is that Cristiano is very angry with the treatment he has received in the press."

Independent News Service

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