Soccer megastar Cristiano Ronaldo has been accused of tax evasion.
Prosecutors in Spain allege the Real Madrid player defrauded the government of about $16 million in taxes from 2011 to 2014. Specifically, Spanish authorities say Ronaldo “took advantage of a business structure created in 2010 to hide from fiscal authorities income generated in Spain from image rights.”
Authorities say Ronaldo used a shell company in the Virgin Islands to “create a screen in order to hide his total income from Spain’s Tax Office.”
In the past, the world’s highest paid athlete denied any wrongdoing, and he maintains is innocence on the most recent allegations.
Before the Champions League final on June 3, Ronaldo told El Chiringuito TV that he was not worried.
“I am very relaxed about it — the truth is I’m very, very relaxed,” Ronaldo said. “I know that these things can be resolved with the best decisions. So I am good. I can say [that] from the depth of my heart, looking straight into the camera.
Ronaldo reportedly earned $93 million last year in salary, endorsements and other bonuses.
The latest tax evasion news comes in the wake of a similar situation involving Ronaldo’s rival Lionel Messi of Barcelona, who was found guilty of tax evasion last summer and given a 21-month suspended sentence.