SPAIN’S tax workers’ union Gestha has called on the country’s Inland Revenue bosses to pass any files they have on Cristiano Ronaldo to prosecutors.
They insisted state prosecutors should be given the chance to decide whether to launch legal proceedings against the Real Madrid star over alleged tax dodging.
A group of European media outlets including the Sunday Times and Spanish daily El Mundo accused Ronaldo of financial impropriety over the weekend.
They also pointed the finger at Arsenal star Mesut Ozil and Jose Mourinho, with the Sunday Times claiming his advisers misled the tax authorities in Britain and Spain during inquiries into more than £10million in earnings hidden through a Caribbean tax haven.
Mourinho has denied any wrongdoing and Ronaldo’s Portuguese agents GestiFute defended the Portuguese boss and the former Manchester United winger in a statement, claiming they were both fully compliant with their tax obligations.
But Gestha, which represents employees of Spain’s Tax Agency and its Finance Ministry, insisted today on Monday that prosecutors should be consulted over the Ronaldo allegations because the footballer could be facing prison if it was proved he committed tax fraud through the use of offshore accounts and companies.
They put out a strongly-worded press release speculating about a lengthy prison sentence for one of the world’s best players if he was found to have committed tax crimes.
Respected Spanish daily El Mundo has claimed Ronaldo may have diverted up to as much as 150 million euros from image rights contracts to a Caribbean tax haven.
Spain’s Finance Minister said on Saturday it “would carry out the inspections it sees fit” following the media revelations.
The footballer is said to be facing ongoing tax inspections over his returns for the years 2011 to 2013, even though El Mundo claimed the alleged impropriety began in 2009 when he signed for Real Madrid.
Gestha said in a statement released on Monday: “Gestha today asked the Spanish Tax Agency to forward to state prosecutors the information it has relating to the revelations known as ‘Football Leaks’. published this weekend by the EIC network, which El Mundo forms part of and which mention Cristiano Ronaldo.
“Gestha considers that in light of these documents, which include those relating to the Real Madrid footballer, there could be sufficient grounds to forward the case to state prosecutors so they can decide if they should start criminal proceedings.”
It added in the statement: “Gestha also consider that the director of Spain’s Tax Agency should explain in the Spanish Parliament under what criteria he decides to refer cases of alleged tax fraud by sportspeople to prosecutors, as well as what the criminal consequences are of only ordering an investigation into three years of tax returns and not others and what reasons exist for that.
“In the case of Cristiano Ronaldo, the Tax Agency has ordered an inspection for the years 2011, 2012 and 2013.
“For each of those years, if there has been tax fraud, it would probably surpass 600,000 euros and if companies in tax havens had been used, we’d be talking about ‘aggravated fiscal fraud’ which would carry a prison sentence of two to six years for each crime.
“However if the player admits wrongdoing and pays back the amounts requested, in his case, the punishment could be reduced so he would receive a maximum prison sentence of 18 months if convicted of three counts of tax fraud and would avoid jail as a first-time offender.”
The union said it believed that if Ronaldo had committed any wrongdoing, they would expect his advisors to recommend supplementary backdated voluntary payments for the years 2009, 2010, 2014 and 2015.
GestiFute boss Jorge Mendes and his agency have furiously denied any wrongdoing by themselves or any of their clients identified in the media reports.
In a statement, GestiFute said: “Both Cristiano Ronaldo and Jose Mourinho are fully complaint with their tax obligations with the Spanish and British tax authorities.
“Any insinuation or accusation made of Cristiano Ronaldo or Jose Mourinho over the commission of a tax offence will be reported to the legal authorities and prosecuted.”
Barcelona star Lionel Messi and his father Jorge were handed a 21-month jail sentence for tax evasion at the start of July.
A Spanish court found the Messi’s had evaded POUNDS 3.19 million on the footballer’s image rights from 2007 to 2009.
Lawyers for the star announced after the sentence they would appeal, even neither man is expected to serve any prison time because in Spain jail sentences of less than two years for first-time offenders are normally suspended.