MADRID: Spanish tax authorities are investigating reports that Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo hid 150 million euros ($160 million) from image rights in tax havens.
A group of 12 European newspapers made the allegations based on leaked documents obtained by German weekly Der Spiegel.
Other high profile clients of Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes were also implicated, including Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho.
Both Ronaldo and Mourinho say that they have fully complied with British and Spanish fiscal requirements.
“The information in the hands of the tax office correspond to what we have learnt in the media,” Jose Enrique Fernandez de Moya, secretary for Spain’s tax office, told radio station COPE.
“What I can say is that the tax agency is an extraordinarily professional agency and, as it has to, will carry out the inspections it sees fit.”
Lawyers for Ronaldo told the newspapers at the heart of the investigation that a Spanish tax audit aimed at the Portuguese was “still in progress.”
Ronaldo is far from the only high profile footballer to find himself investigated by the Spanish tax authorities.
Earlier this year, Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi was given a 21-month prison sentence while fellow Argentine Javier Mascherano was handed a one-year suspended sentence, both for tax fraud.
The media outlets investigating the claims say they will release over the next three weeks the results of investigations into alleged soccer corruption under the banner “Football Leaks”.
Based on leaked documents obtained by German weekly Der Spiegel, the outlets claim that Real Madrid and Portuguese star Ronaldo could have “hidden 150 million euros in tax havens in Switzerland and the British Virgin Islands”.
“On this amount, the striker paid only 5.6 million euros in taxes, or barely four percent,” added the report.
According to Friday’s first batch of leaks, Ronaldo, it is claimed, benefited from a system developed by Mendes.
The Real Madrid striker is alleged to have benefited from two operations related to advertising revenue.
The first, between 2009 and 2014, could represent “74.8 million euros via an offshore company called Tollin, registered in the British Virgin Islands”, said the report released on Friday.