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Ronaldo, who has played for La Liga titan Real Madrid since 2009, was accused by Spanish authorities of evading 14.7 million euros (about $17.1 million) in taxes between 2011 and 2014. Prosecutors allege that Ronaldo set up a company in 2010 to manage his image rights in the British Virgin Islands but then transferred those rights to a second company in Ireland, solely for the purpose of creating a “screen” to confuse Spanish tax authorities.
Under the agreement, that amount was reduced to 5.7 million euros (about $6.6 million). He will pay a fine of 18.8 million euros (about $21.8 million) but likely will not head to prison because, under Spanish law, first-time offenders who are sentenced to less than two years may serve their time on probation.
The 33-year-old forward, one of the world’s best and highest-paid players, denied the allegations through his representatives, according to Reuters. He originally offered to pay a 14 million euro fine (about $16.2 million), but Spanish officials countered with 18.8 million euros, which El Mundo said he accepted.
In 2016, Argentine star Lionel Messi — who plays for Real Madrid rival Barcelona — and his father were found guilty of similar tax-fraud charges in Spain, each of them receiving 21-month prison sentences that were not served because of the country’s first-time offender system. The court found Messi had funneled income earned from his image rights through countries such as Uruguay, Switzerland and Belize, evading more than 4 million euros (about $4.6 million) in taxes from 2007 to 2009. Messi paid 5 million euros (about $5.6 million) in back taxes in 2013, and he and his father were fined 2 million euros (about $2.2 million) and 1.5 million euros (about $1.7 million) after their guilty verdicts.
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