Cristiano Ronaldo to face court for ‘£5.2million tax evasion’ as prosecutors demand judge throw book at Juventus ace

The 33-year-old will have to attend the hearing in person after his request to give evidence by video-conference from Italy was rejected, well-placed sources revealed today.

As part of a pre-trial deal done with prosecutors, the former Man United striker is expected to plead guilty to four charges of tax fraud.

Prison sentences of two years or less for first-time offenders in Spain are normally suspended under Spanish law, meaning Ronaldo will not serve any jail time if all goes to plan.

Prosecutors initially alleged Ronaldo had defrauded £12.95million but confirmed today they were accusing him of defrauding just over £5.3m.

Prosecutors will also seek a heavy fine for the five-times Ballon d'Or winner.

Ronaldo’s trial will start at 10am on Tuesday at Madrid’s Audiencia Provincial court, a day after the January 21 date published by Spanish press last month.

Madrid prosecution sources confirmed today: "The Provincial Prosecutors’ Office of Madrid is seeking a 23-month prison sentence for Cristiano Ronaldo Dos Santos Aveiro for the commission of four crimes against the Public Treasury relating to Personal Income Tax for the tax years 2011 to 2014 inclusive.

"Over those four years prosecutors say the footballer deprived the Public Treasury out of €5,717,174 (£5.3million)."

The Provincial Prosecutors’ Office of Madrid is seeking a 23-month prison sentence for Cristiano Ronaldo"

Ronaldo subsequently paid what he owed in unpaid tax along with a six-figure sum to cover the interest.

A seven-page indictment prosecutors have submitted to the trial court states Ronaldo evaded tax on image right earnings he should have declared as a Spanish resident.

They say he dodged paying what he should through a business set-up which included ceding his image rights to an offshore British Virgin Islands-based firm he was sole director of which acted as a “screen” to hide his real earnings because the company handed management of his image rights to a second company based in Ireland.

Prosecutors allege in the indictment Ronaldo used the business structure solely to "obtain an illicit tax benefit".

They state in the written document he declared earnings from a "Spanish source" of just over £10million for the years 2011 to 2014 inclusive when in reality his earnings in Spain for 2013 alone were slightly higher than the total four-year figure.

Prosecutors want Ronaldo to receive a six-month prison sentence for three of the four counts of tax fraud following his expected admission of guilt – and five months for the fourth.

The footballer is expected to take a private jet to Spain after a Monday match with Juventus.

The tax fraud trial of former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso will also start in Madrid the same day Ronaldo appears in court.

The 37-year-old is expected to plead not guilty to an alleged £1.8million tax fraud over the years 2010 to 2012 when he was at Real Madrid.

State prosecutors are seeking a five-year prison sentence.

His trial will take place at the same court building Ronaldo has been summonsed to on the same day, although in a different courtroom.

Spanish daily ABC reported today Ronaldo will try to get his suspended prison sentence swapped for an extra fine of £308,000 when he appears in court on Tuesday.


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