Ronaldo Tax Agreement Queried By Spain’s Finance Ministry

Finance Ministry Unhappy Over Deal

Cristiano Ronaldo
Image: Ruben Ortega

Cristiano Ronaldo’s problems with the Spanish justice system may not be over just yet.

Ronaldo was accused of avoiding over £12million in taxes by having his overseas image rights paid to companies based in Ireland and the tax haven of the British Virgin Islands. The offences were committed between 2011 and 2014. The discretion came to light as part of the Football Leaks revelations in December 2016.

The Portugal international appeared to have got out of serving a prison sentence when it was revealed last week that the Spanish finance ministry will agree to a fine of some £16million. Ronaldo would also be sentence to a two-year jail sentence. He wouldn’t have to serve time behind bars. First-time offenders in Spain who receive a sentence of less than two years don’t go to jail.

Ronaldo had feared a sentence of more than two years which would have resulted in him going to jail. Lionel Messi received a sentence of 21 months over the avoidance of €4million of overseas image rights through companies in the UK and Uruguay.

But according to Sport newspaper in Spain, Gestha, the Spanish Ministry of Finance, have queried the agreement. It claims that the amount Ronaldo is due to repay could still be short-changing the justice department by around €9million.

Gestha has asked the Secretary Of State Tax Office to “reconsider the negotiated offer to make sure that the quoted tax frauds and fines aren’t less than the administrative costs after reducing the prison sentences to 24 months.”

Ronaldo appeared before a tribunal in July of last year. However, he pleaded his innocence and claimed that the arrangement in place in Spain was exactly the same as the one that had been in place during his time at Manchester United. The scheme had been ratified by HM Revenues and Customs in the UK.

Overseas image right represent a can of worms for footballers. The Spanish authorities have gone after a number of big names such as Messi, Ronaldo and Javier Mascherano.

Spain’s tax authorities have a reputation for being quite strict over the ratification of tax schemes regarding overseas image rights. France has a similar reputation. By contract, the authorities in the UK and Italy take a far more relaxed view.