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TAX FRAUD

Spanish tax office demands ‘Football Leaks’ documents

Spain's tax office has ordered daily newspaper El Mundo to hand over documents related to its probe into alleged massive football fraud involving top players, the paper said Tuesday.

Spanish tax office demands 'Football Leaks' documents
Cristiano Ronaldo has been named in the probe. Photo: AFP

The paper is part of a group of 12 European news outlets that began publishing on December 2nd the results of months of investigations into a vast trove of more than 18 million financial documents, obtained by the German magazine Der Spiegel and dubbed the “Football Leaks”.

The probe has centred on current and former players of the Spanish league such as Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo, who won his fourth Ballon d'Or on Monday, and Manchester United coach Jose Mourinho, formerly of Real.   

El Mundo said Spain's anti-fraud office Onif had ordered Unidad Editorial, the paper's parent company, to hand over “all information and documents with fiscal interest” related to the “Football Leaks” probe.

The newspaper said the anti-fraud office was seeking information on 37 people and bodies, including Ronaldo, his agent Jorge Mendes and his management company Gestifute.

Real Madrid's French striker Karim Benzema, FC Barcelona's Brazilian striker Neymar and Arsenal's German midfielder Mesut Ozil are also on the list.    

Contacted by AFP, a tax office source confirmed the request for information had been made but did not confirm the names listed by El Mundo.  

The newspaper's decision whether or not to turn over the documents that were requested will “depend on the authorisation of our sources”, El Mundo director Pedro Garcia Cuartango wrote in a column.

The first leaks unveiled as part of the European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) journalists' consortium centred on “a system” allegedly put in place by Mendes, the agent of Ronaldo and Mourinho.

They allege for instance that Ronaldo could have “hidden €150 million (from image rights) in tax havens in Switzerland and the British Virgin Islands.”

Both Ronaldo and Mourinho maintain they have fully complied with Spanish and British fiscal requirements.

Still, Spanish tax authorities are investigating the allegations where Ronaldo is concerned.

The EIC consortium which is carrying out the “Football Leaks” also includes Britain's Sunday Times and Portugal's Expresso.

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HAIR

Ronaldo thanks his Spanish fans… with a hair transplant clinic

Cristiano Ronaldo said that his decision to open a hair transplant clinic in Madrid was his way of thanking "the people who love me" after spending the best part of a decade at Real Madrid

Ronaldo thanks his Spanish fans... with a hair transplant clinic

The 34-year-old Portuguese star opened Insparya hair implant centre in the Spanish capital in March even though he has been a Juventus player since last year.

“The Spanish people treated me well, I wanted to thank them by giving them work,” Ronaldo told El Pais newspaper in an article published Friday.  

“I know that the people love me, they know that I gave a lot to the club (Real) and that they also gave me a lot.”   

Ronaldo, who won two La Liga and four European Champions League titles with Real, said that he hasn't ruled out becoming a coach when his playing days are over but still has his critics to defy.

“I see football as a mission: to be on the field, to win, to improve, I feel extra pressure, people always judge, they say it's over, that I'm 33, 34 or 35, and I should stop,” added the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

READ ALSO: Cristiano Ronaldo pranks Madrid as homeless man

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