Cristiano Ronaldo hit with €14.7 million tax fraud charge

March 28 2017 Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo gestures during the international friendly soccer match between Portugal and Sweden at the dos Barreiros stadium in Funchal Madeira island Portugal

March 28 2017 Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo gestures during the international friendly soccer match between Portugal and Sweden at the dos Barreiros stadium in Funchal Madeira island Portugal

The Associated Press reports that the prosecutor accused Ronaldo of creating a shell company in the Virgin Islands to hide his total income from the tax office. This is a developing story, more details to follow.

Last month, tax officials said Ronaldo adjusted his tax declarations and paid an extra €6m ($6.7m) in 2014.

Last summer, Barcelona legend Lionel Messi also faced similar charges for which he and his father convicted.

"There is no tax evasion scheme ... there has never been any hiding nor any intention to hide anything", Gestifute said in a statement.

Messi and his father were both sentenced in July a year ago after being found guilty of three counts of tax fraud.

The prosecutor's office filed the lawsuit against Ronaldo on Tuesday to a court in the Madrid district of Pozuelo de Alarcon.

"Neither Cristiano Ronaldo nor Jose Mourinho has ever been involved in legal proceedings regarding the commission of a tax offence".

In December, leaked documents suggested that Ronaldo had avoided tax on income allegedly held in offshore accounts.

It said Ronaldo "intentionally" did not declare income of €28.4m (£25m) related to image rights, and declared €11.5m of earnings from 2011-14 when his real income was nearly €43m.

Ronaldo's representatives have so far not been available for comment.

Ronaldo is the latest high profile footballer in La Liga to be hit with a charge by the Spanish authorities.

In Spain, tax fraud is punishable by up to five years in prison.

Now the wealthiest athlete in the world according to Forbes, who estimate his net worth to be $93m (£72.1m), Ronaldo is accused of only declaring €11.5m of an alleged €43m in image rights earnings over three years. Neither Messi, however, is expected to serve prison time since it was a first offense.

Ronaldo reportedly earned $93 million a year ago in salary, endorsements and other bonuses. The Portuguese forward scored 42 goals in all competitions this season, including two in the Champions League final as Real became the first team to retain the title. Messi's Barcelona teammate Neymar is also being prosecuted in Spain over his transfer from Brazilian team Santos in 2013.

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