Jorge Mendes gives evidence in Radamel Falcao tax fraud investigation
Football agent Jorge Mendes has appeared in a Spanish court which is investigating a potential tax fraud by Monaco striker Radamel Falcao.
Mendes gave evidence on Tuesday morning in front of judge Monica Gomez Ferrer, who is also overseeing the case which sees Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, another Mendes client, due in the same court on July 31 to answer charges of an alleged €14.7 million tax fraud.
The 51-year-old Gestifute founder arrived at the court buildings in suburban Madrid accompanied by lawyers from Baker & McKenzie, the same firm who are defending Ronaldo in his case, and told reporters outside "I cannot comment" as he entered the building.
Investigators at Spain's "Hacienda" tax authority suspect that former Atletico Madrid player Falcao and his advisors did not correctly declare €5.6m of image rights income earned when he was playing in La Liga between 2012 and 2013.
The image rights income of other Mendes clients including Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho and current and former Madrid players Ronaldo, Fabio Coentrao, Pepe, Angel Di Maria and Ricardo Carvalho have also been investigated by the Spanish authorities.
Gestifute and their legal representatives have been very clear that they feel no wrongdoing has taken place. A statement released on June 14 claimed that Mendes had at that point not received any notice that he would be called to court to speak to the investigation into Falcao's affairs.
"Neither Jorge Mendes nor the company he manages, Gestifute, participate in or provide any type of service directly or indirectly related to financial, tax or legal consultancy for those they represent, who are more than 200 of the top sportsmen and women around the world," the statement said.
A group of European media outlets reported in December 2016 that Ronaldo and other Mendes clients had used complicated structures which saw their image rights income routed through a network of companies in Ireland, the British Virgin Islands, Panama and Switzerland.
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan