Record European football champions Real Madrid on Wednesday expressed their full confidence in star forward Cristiano Ronaldo after the Portuguese star was accused of tax evasion totalling 14.7 million euros ($16.5 million) by Spanish authorities.
The club said in a statement that Ronaldo had always shown a clear will to fulfill all his tax obligations since he joined Real Madrid in July 2009, reports Efe.
"Real Madrid has full confidence in our player Cristiano Ronaldo, who we understand has acted in accordance with the legality regarding the fulfillment of his fiscal obligations," the statement said.
"Real Madrid is absolutely convinced that our player, Cristiano Ronaldo, will prove his total innocence," it added.
When faced by a flurry of questions by journalists on Wednesday, Ronaldo replied: "Clear conscience, always."
In the indictment, the prosecution alleged that Ronaldo had evaded tax "in a conscious and voluntary manner".
The prosecution said Ronaldo had taken advantage of a corporate structure created in 2010 that served to conceal the iconic player's income derived from his image rights.
Additionally, Gestifute, the company that represents Ronaldo, explained that the Madrid prosecutor filed a complaint against the 32-year-old but the player took his income directly without the participation of other companies.
"The denunciation implies that everything derives from the participation of a tax haven structure, similar to that of other players," Gestifute said.
"However, most of the income in dispute was obtained directly by the player without the participation of any of his companies," the entity said.
According to the accusation, after signing his contract with Real Madrid, Ronaldo "purported to" cede his image rights to a shell company based in the British Virgin Islands, a tax haven in the Caribbean.
Ronaldo was listed as the sole member of the company, Tollin Associates Ltd.
Tollin ceded the rights to Ronaldo's image to another company in Ireland, Multisports & Image Management Ltd, which actually managed the soccer icon's image while Tollin apparently remained inactive and was kept dormant.
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