Cristiano Ronaldo insists he has “never concealed anything” after appearing in court to face accusations he avoided €14.7million in taxes relating to his image rights between 2011 and 2014.
The Real Madrid forward, who denies all wrongdoing, changed plans to address the press on the steps of the court in Pozuelo de Alarcon – the Madrid suburb where he lives – but later issued a statement.
Ronaldo is accused of creating a “business structure” in 2010 to conceal his earnings, a claim which has also been strenuously denied by his agents, Gestifute.
“The Spanish Treasury knows in detail all my income, because we gave it to them,” Ronaldo said in the statement. “I have never concealed anything, nor did I intend to evade taxes.
“I always do my tax returns voluntarily, because I think we all have to declare and pay taxes according to our income. Those who know me, know what I ask my advisors: to have everything up to date and properly paid, because I do not want problems.
“It is time to let justice work, I believe in justice. In order to avoid unnecessary pressure or to contribute to a parallel trial, I have decided that I will not make any further statements on this subject until such a decision is made.”
If Ronaldo’s case is sent to trial and he is ultimately found guilty, the Gestha union of experts at Spain’s Inland Revenue has said he could face a fine of “at least €28m” and a prison sentence of three-and-a-half years.
The case has sparked intense speculation over Ronaldo’s future with his club after reports claimed he no longer wanted to play in Spain amid the scrutiny of his tax affairs.
He is yet to join up with Madrid for their pre-season preparations due to his involvement in the Confederations Cup with Portugal in Russia. Madrid have offered Ronaldo their support and believe he will be proven innocent.