Portuguese superstar, Cristiano Ronaldo, avoided speaking to the media after appearing in a Spanish court today, to testify in his €14.7m tax evasion case.
Ronaldo, who arrived the court in tinted windows car, was expected to speak to reporter’s after the hearing, with a podium already setup outside the Pozuelo de Alarcon court in Madrid.
But the forward chose not to address the media after the one and a half hour court session, a decision that was booed by the gathered media representatives outside the court room.
The 32-year-old was accused of evading €14.7m($17.3m) in tax by the Spanish tax authority, which says Ronaldo took “advantage of a company structure created in 2010 to hide income generated in Spain from his image rights from tax authorities.”
A crime they termed “voluntary and conscious breach of his fiscal obligations in Spain”.
Ronaldo, the worlds highest earning athlete, joins the long list of football stars that has been charged with tax evasion crimes by the Spanish tax authority.
Cristiano Ronaldo in court today accused of defrauding Spanish tax authorities of £13m through 3 companies set up in British Virgin Islands
— Kaveh Solhekol (@SkyKaveh) July 31, 2017
However, the Real Madrid forward have since denied the charges, saying his “conscience is clear”, a narrative echoed by his agent’s company Gestifute, which also declared that “the player didn’t hide anything” and the charges are mere “fiscal set-up”
If the case goes to trial and Ronaldo is found guilty, he could be sentenced to at least three-and-a-half years jail term and fined up to €28m.
Last year, Barcelona’s Lionel Messi was sentenced to a 21-month prison term after being found guilty of tax crimes, but later paid €252,000 in place of the jail term, as directed by the court.