Spanish prosecutors have filed a lawsuit against Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo for alleged tax fraud, it has been reported.
As the Telegraph reported, Ronaldo allegedly perpetrated tax fraud worth some $18.6 million dollars between 2011 and 2014.
Ronaldo allegedly hid his images rights earnings via the creation of a “business structure” that was created in 2010, the suit claims, as The Telegraph reported.
Real Madrid has declined to comment on the star’s legal situation.
“Prosecutors alleged that Ronaldo had defrauded the tax authorities of €1.4m in 2011, €1.7m in 2012, €3.2m in 2013 and €8.5m in 2014,” the Telegraph reported.
Ronaldo, who is a Portuguese national, became a Spanish tax resident starting in January 2010.
Last month, he was accused of fraud by the Spanish tax office following an investigation into his finances and tax returns, ESPN FC reported.
“Prosecutors said that if they decided to charge the Portugal captain, and if he was subsequently found guilty by a court, he would face a prison sentence of at least 15 months — one quarter of the five years,” ESPN reported in May. “At that level of sentence, it would be unlikely Ronaldo would go to jail as a first-time offender.”
It comes just months after Barcelona rival Lionel Messi was given a 21-month sentence for tax evasion, and Javier Mascherano received a 12-month suspended sentence, the BBC reported.
Of Messi’s sentence, the court said, “It defies logic to concede that someone who earns a large income does not know that he must pay taxes on it,” the BBC reported.
His father, Jorge Messi, who manages his finances, was also convicted. The two men were charged with defrauding the Spanish government $4.6 million in taxes.
Ronaldo is the highest-paid sportsman, according to Forbes magazine. He earned about $93 million from his Real Madrid salary, bonuses, and endorsements.
Last year, it was reported that leaked documents suggested that the soccer superstar avoided tax on income held in offshore accounts.
At the time, he denied the accusations.
When he was asked about the tax investigation, Ronaldo told RTP: “He who has nothing to hide has no fear,” the BBC reported.