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Cristiano Ronaldo reps hit back against tax fraud claims
The Real Madrid star is accused of using tax havens in the Virgin Islands.
Following a leak of documents that allege top soccer players have committed tax fraud, a firm representing Cristiano Ronaldo is hitting back against the claims.
Ronaldo has reportedly been accused of evading taxes through a financial structure set up by his management company, Gestifute. The firm had also represented Manchester United coach Jose Mourinho, who has been hit with similar accusations. But the company hit back, releasing documents they say prove Ronaldo met his tax obligations.
"Both Cristiano Ronaldo and Jose Mourinho are in compliance with their fiscal obligations in Spain and in the United Kingdom," Gestifute said in a statement. The company also vowed legal action against those making the false claims.
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Earlier this week, a group of European news outlets reported that several top soccer figures, including Ronaldo, Mourinho and Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil had engaged in tax evasion.
Ronaldo is accused of moving €63.5 million to a tax haven in the Virgin Islands to avoid paying taxes. Mourinho is accused of moving €12 million to a Swiss bank account operated by a company in the Virgin Islands.
The documents cited in the reports came from a website called Football Leaks in a breach that includes two terabytes of data and has been called the largest leak in sports. The group of 12 European news organizations – including England's Sunday Times, Spain's El Mundo and Germany's Del Spiegel – has vowed to release more reports in the coming days and weeks as they comb through the documents.
This is hardly the first time soccer's top figures have been accused of tax evasion and financial irregularities. Lionel Messi was convicted of tax fraud this summer, but did not have to serve time in jail because it was a first offense. Meanwhile, Messi's Barcelona teammate Neymar appears to be on track to stand trial over financial issues in his transfer from Santos to Barcelona.