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Spain's taxman approves Ronaldo multi-million tax settlement

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Spain's taxman approves Ronaldo multi-million tax settlement
ristiano Ronaldo celebrates Real Madrid's winning the third Champions League title in May. Photo: AFP
08:52 CEST+02:00
Spanish tax authorities have given their ok for football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo to pay close to €19 million ($22 million) to settle a tax fraud claim.

Prosecutors in Madrid said on Friday that the deal with tax authorities and Ronaldo's advisors also includes a two-year jail sentence which he won't serve.

Sentences of up to two years are generally not implemented in Spain for first-time offenders in non-violent crimes.   

The 33-year-old former Real Madrid striker, who has moved to Juventus, appeared in court last July near Madrid to answer four counts of tax evasion.   

Prosecutors allege the five-time Ballon d'Or winner hid income generated in Spain from his image rights from tax authorities.

He is alleged to have used companies in low-tax foreign jurisdictions -- notably the British Virgin Islands and Ireland -- to avoid having to pay the tax otherwise due.

In 2014, Spanish authorities say he was late in declaring that year just €11.5 millions of revenue earned in Spain for the period 2011-2014 when his earnings in his country of residence totalled €43 million.

The Spanish taxman also found he did not declare €28.4 million in image rights agreed for 2015-2020, leaving €14.7 million owing.

His legal team had blamed the affair on a simple different interpretation of which revenue he was obliged to declare in Spain.   

Had the case gone further, without the player offering a full settlement, he could have faced a fine of a reported 28 millions euros as well as a three-and-a-half-year jail term, according to the Spanish tax office union Gestha.

Ronaldo's big La Liga rival, Barcelona's Argentinian star Lionel Messi, paid a two-million-euro fine in 2016 in his own tax wrangle and received a 21-month jail term.

The prison sentence was later reduced to a further fine of €252,000 equivalent to €400 per day of the original term.

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