Spanish prosecutors file a tax fraud lawsuit against Ronaldo

Real Madrid give their backing to Cristiano Ronaldo amid accusations of €14.8m (£12.9m) tax fraud.

The prosecutor also accused Ronaldo of declaring $12.8 million earned from 2011-14 in a tax returns filed in 2014; a time when the prosecutor said Ronaldo's true income during that period was nearly $48 million.

"Real Madrid C.F hope that justice is done as quickly as possible so that his innocence can be proven as soon as possible".

The prosecutor's office in Madrid filed a lawsuit that alleges that the 31-year-old knowingly used offshore accounts to hide income from his image-rights payments. However, with an income of $93 million, Cristiano Ronaldo is the highest paid athlete in the world, and that is why it raises serious concerns over whether these tax avoidance schemes are a larger problem. They presented a report and he was accused of four different counts for tax fraud, including 14.768.897 €.

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 in taxes from 2007 to 2009.

The Portuguese revenue authority is investigating alleged tax fraud by clubs and football players, including Portuguese football star Cristiano Ronaldo, local newspaper Publico reported on Wednesday.

It said the Portugal captain "took advantage of a business structure created in 2010 to hide from fiscal authorities income generated in Spain from image rights".

Gestifute, the company owned by Ronaldo's agent Jorge Mendes, have so far been unavailable for comment.

The Argentine, 29, had also received a 21-month jail sentence but avoided prison as it was the forward's first offense.

Ronaldo earned £72 million from salary, bonuses and endorsements in 2016 and is now the world's highest-paid sportsperson. He helped Real Madrid win La Liga (Spain's first division) and the UEFA Champions League last season.

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