Ahead of his return to Real Madrid training on August 5, Cristiano Ronaldo has an even more important date in his diary, as he prepares to testify in court this Monday, July 31, in relation to his tax case.
Accused of defrauding the Spanish tax authorities of 14.7 million euros between 2011 and 2014, the player will appear in Court Number One in Pozuelo de Alarcon as he aims to prove his innocence.
The basis of his defence, as agreed upon by his agent Jorge Mendes and his lawyer Antonio Lobo Xavier, as well as the firm Baker McKenzie, will be that there was a difference of opinion with the Spanish taxman when it came to interpreting the rules.
As such, the first defence offered by lawyer Carlos Osorio, which was to deny the link between the player and the relevant offshore accounts, has been discarded.
“Nobody will believe that Ronaldo doesn’t know what he is signing,” was the response of the rest of the lawyers to this plan of action.
According to the financial authorities, Ronaldo “voluntarily and consciously” defrauded the Spanish taxman through three companies – Tollin, Arnel and Adifore – set up in the British Virgin Islands and only paid the relevant tax in 2014, despite having been residing in Spain since his 2009 move to Real Madrid.
On Monday, the player will attend court as someone being investigated, but if the judge finds sufficient evidence of a crime having been committed then Ronaldo will become a defendant.
If a formal accusation if filed and the judge decides to put the Portuguese through the judicial process then there will be a full trial and he could, in this case, be hit with a prison sentence – which tax agents estimate could be seven years, with the possibility of being reduced to 21 months.