Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo is signing a deal with a Spanish court to settle a tax fraud case which will cost him a total of 18.8 million euros ($29.9 million) and give him a suspended jail term.
- Ronaldo pleaded guilty to creating shell companies to hide income from image rights
- Under Spanish law he escapes jail time because he is a first-time offender
- Ronaldo earns over $795,000 per week with his soccer club, Juventus
Ronaldo, holding hands with his Spanish fiancee Georgina Rodriguez, came out of the courtroom smiling, pausing to sign autographs before leaving in a black van.
The 33-year-old Juventus forward, who played for Real Madrid from 2009-2018, agreed to settle the case with the fine and a suspended jail sentence.
Ronaldo is the world’s second highest-paid soccer player, with income streams from his soccer salary, endorsements, appearances, and licensing.
In 2018, Forbes estimated the star was to receive at least 97 million euros ($155.8 million) in one soccer season.
His current contract with Juventus will pay him 30 million euros ($47.85 million) for four years, equating to around 500,000 euros ($797,425) per week.
Under Spanish law, a first offender can serve anything less than a two-year sentence under probation and Ronaldo will not have to go to prison.
His court appearance lasted about 15 minutes as the five-time world footballer of the year only needed to sign off on the previously settled agreement.
Real Madrid teammate’s tax case suspended
Earlier, Ronaldo’s former Real Madrid team mate Xabi Alonso walked in to face own tax fraud case totalling 2 million euros ($32.3 million).
“Yes, all good,” was his only response to reporters’ questions as he arrived with his hands deep in his suit pockets.
His case — accusing him of similar tax evasion methods to Ronaldo — was later suspended.
Ronaldo had to enter the courtroom through the front door after his request for special security measures to avoid the spotlight was denied on Monday.
In 2017, Ronaldo denied the accusation that he knowingly used a business structure to hide income generated by his image rights in Spain between 2011 and 2014.
After reaching the deal, he paid a fine of 5.7 million euros ($9.09 million), plus interest of about 1 million euros ($1.6 million), in July 2018, the prosecutor’s office said last week.