Cristiano Ronaldo tax accusations a 'surprise' and 'injustice' - lawyer
Cristiano Ronaldo is surprised by accusations that he defrauded Spain's tax office of €14.7 million in unpaid taxes and feels they are unjust, one of his lawyers has said.
A Spanish state prosecutor accused the Real Madrid forward of "taking advantage of a business structure created in 2010 to hide from fiscal authorities income generated in Spain from image rights."
However, lawyer Antonio Lobo Xavier rejected the accusations and insisted that Ronaldo did not break any laws.
"It has come as a complete surprise and the player feels that it is an injustice," he told Portuguese station SIC Noticias, as reported by Marca.
"There was no lack of a declaration [of income]. There was a declaration according to criteria that apparently isn't the criteria the Spanish fiscal authorities like, but there is nothing written in law or in any rulebook that says the player broke the rules."
Ronaldo's agency, Gestifute, said in a statement Tuesday that "it is clear that the player did not try to evade taxes."
It said that Ronaldo's payment in 2014 was not a correctional tax payment, but a declaration of the money he had only just been paid for his image rights between 2011 and 2014, in accordance with the way he had paid taxes in England while still a Manchester United player.
If he had paid on a yearly basis, Gestifute added, then he would have ended up paying less tax than he eventually paid.
In the statement it also added that there was "no off shore structure for evading taxes" created in 2010 and that the company that deals with Ronaldo's image rights, Tollin, has been 100 percent owned by the Portugal international since it was founded in 2004.
"Cristiano's lawyers consider that regarding what the solution to this case ends up being, it should be confined to an administrative field rather than a criminal one," it said.
Real Madrid have also shown their support for Ronaldo, saying in a statement Wednesday that he has their full confidence and that he has always shown a clear will to fulfil all of his tax obligations since signing in 2009.
"Real Madrid C.F. are absolutely convinced that our player, Cristiano Ronaldo, will prove his total innocence in this process," the statement said. "Real Madrid C.F. hope that justice is done as quickly as possible so that his innocence can be proven as soon as possible."
Asked about the reports following Wednesday's training session with Portugal, Ronaldo said he had a "clear conscience."
Questioned about his innocence, Ronaldo replied: "Always, hombre."
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