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Man United boss Jose Mourinho says his Spain taxes were paid

MADRID -- After appearing in court on Friday, Jose Mourinho said he has paid everything he owed to Spanish tax authorities from the time he coached Real Madrid.

The Manchester United manager made his comments after a brief appearance before a Spanish judge to answer questions regarding what ESPN FC sources say are new, additional accusations of tax fraud.

Mourinho arrived at the Court of First Instance and Instruction No.4 in Pozuelo de Alarcon, Madrid, at around 9:30 a.m. local time on Friday to answer charges of a €3.3 million tax fraud for unpaid taxes in 2011 and 2012 involving revenues from image rights, charges he has continually denied.

After a brief hearing, he told media upon leaving the court: "I was told that my tax situation was completely legal. A few years later I was told that there was an investigation opened and they told me that to regularise my situation I had to pay sum X.

"I did not answer, I did not argue, I have paid and signed with the state that I am definitely in compliance and the case is closed. That is why I am here, nothing else."

A source close to the case told ESPN FC that Mourinho alleges he has already paid his taxes and will not accept any  of the new charges the court made on Friday.

Court sources told EFE news agency that it is now up to the judge, Enrique Presa, to decide whether to go forward with the case or accept Mourinho's version and dismiss the charges.

According to EFE and ESPN FC sources, the case is not yet closed and further court dates are pending as the country's tax agency, Hacienda, decides whether there is enough new evidence to determine that the previous settlement was not enough and whether Mourinho must pay more.

Prosecutors at Spain's Hacienda tax authority accused Mourinho of using companies in Ireland, New Zealand and the British Virgin Islands to hide image rights income received when he was Real Madrid manager in 2011 and 2012. 

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho arrived at court in Madrid for hearing in tax case.
Jose Mourinho appeared before the Court of First Instance and Instruction No.4 in Pozuelo de Alarcon on Friday.

Mourinho said in a statement earlier this year that he had paid €26m in taxes during his three years living in Spain as Madrid coach and had previously "entered into a settlement agreement regarding 2013."

On Friday, he appeared at the same building where Cristiano Ronaldo testified in his tax fraud hearing on July 31, and where the Portuguese pair's agent, Jorge Mendes, spoke in front of the judge hearing a similar case involving current Monaco striker Radamel Falcao on June 27.

The court date affected United's preparations for the game at Mourinho's former club Chelsea on Sunday, with the prematch news conference brought forward from Friday to Thursday so that he could attend.

However, asked if it was a "distraction" for him or his team ahead of the crunch clash at Stamford Bridge, Mourinho said: "No. It's just a change of normal training time because I want to be there and I can't be there in the morning so I have to change the timings."

The 54-year-old Portuguese coach was in charge of Real Madrid from 2010-2013.

Mourinho is the latest figure to be targeted by tax authorities in Spain. Last year, Lionel Messi and his father were found guilty on three counts of defrauding tax authorities of €4.1m from income made from image rights.

Ronaldo, meanwhile, continues to fight his charges and could be called back to court to give further evidence in the coming months. Accused of a €14.7m fraud, Ronaldo did not accept the investigator's understanding of his affairs and during a 90-minute hearing in July he told the judge he had done nothing wrong and was only being targeted due to his fame.

Other clients at Mendes' Gestifute agency including Fabio Coentrao, Pepe, Ricardo Carvalho and Angel Di Maria have also had image rights issues with the Spanish tax authorities. Di Maria and Carvalho are reported to have settled their cases, while those of Falcao and Coentrao are still being contested.

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

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