Madrid: Cristiano Ronaldo avoided jail on Tuesday but was ordered by a Spanish court to pay 3.57 million euros ($4.1 million) for committing tax fraud when he was at Real Madrid.
The court sentenced him to a two-year jail sentence that it immediately reduced to a fine of 365,000 euros, which adds on to another penalty of 3.2 million euros, the sentence read. A court spokesman said he did not know whether this would be added on to the 18.8 million euros that Ronaldo had agreed to pay Spain’s taxman under a deal reached in June with the player’s lawyers.
Ronaldo, who last year joined Italian champions Juventus, returned to Madrid for a brief court appearance which lasted around 40 minutes as the deal was officially presented to the judge.
“I am very well,” the five-time Ballon d’Or winner told the crowd of reporters gathered outside of the court in northeastern Madrid as he left the hearing. He signed a few autographs before leaving in a black van. The presiding judge refused the player’s request to appear by video or to enter the building by car to avoid the spotlight.
Ronaldo, 33, smiled broadly as he arrived at the court dressed in black trousers, a black turtleneck and dark sunglasses, holding hands with his girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez.
Madrid prosecutors opened a probe into Ronaldo in June 2017 and he was questioned in July that same year.
“I have never hidden anything, nor have I had the intention of evading taxes,” he told the court then, according to a statement from the sports agency which represents him, Gestifute.
Prosecutors accuse him of having used companies in low-tax foreign jurisdictions to avoid paying the tax due in Spain.