The Spanish tax authorities have rejected an offer of 14 million euros from Real Madrid player Cristiano Ronaldo to settle his tax fraud case. The player had offered the amount, plus an admission of guilt, in exchange for a reduced prison sentence of two years. As the player has no previous convictions in Spain, under Spanish criminal law he would not serve any time in jail. The 33-year-old was accused by Spanish prosecutors last June of defrauding the country's tax authorities of 14.8m euros from image rights income.
Spanish tax authorities demand €28 euros from Cristiano Ronaldo
The Spanish tax authorities however have rejected the offer, demanding that the player accept the total amount of the tax defrauded (14.7 million euros) plus interest, fines and costs. A total of nearly 28 million euros. Ronaldo can either pay this amount before 15 June, or stand trial for tax fraud when he returns from the World Cup.
If the player decides to go to trial he could be facing a prison sentence of no less than eight years if found guilty. Prosecutors in Spain sought a jail term of eight years for Xabi Alonso, for an alleged amount far smaller.
This situation may explain to some extent the player’s reaction after the Champions League final in Kiev, where Ronaldo, straight after the match, appeared to suggest his time at the club had come to an end. The player is aware of just how serious his tax situation is, and feels the club haven’t supported him fully. The club though had made their stance quite clear: he’d get all the moral support he needed, but Real Madrid would not pay the amounts due to the tax authorities. Ronaldo had hoped Real Madrid would pay the quantities due as a contract renewal bonus. But Madrid made it clear they wouldn’t do that, both as an ethical stance and to avoid setting a bad example for future situations. And that refusal likely is why Ronaldo exploded after the Champions League triumph. However his words didn’t have the hoped for effect at Real Madrid: the club not only won’t change its stance, nor will his reaction be accepted or justified from the Bernabéu.
“Nobody is bigger than the club. Not even Cristiano”, said one source. The future of the Portuguese striker at Real Madrid and in Spain is uncertain. The answer may depend on paying 28 million euros to the Spanish tax authorities.