Cristiano Ronaldo appears in court in Spain to face tax charges

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CRISTIANO RONALDO: Could face a fine of "at least €28m" and a prison sentence of three-and-a-half years

REAL MADRID football star Cristiano Ronaldo, 32,  has arrived at court in Madrid to give evidence in a case alleging he evaded paying millions of euros in tax.

If found guilty he could face a fine of “at least €28m” and a prison sentence of three-and-a-half years.

The Portugese-born  forward  is the latest in a string of footballers to be chased by the Spanish tax authorities.

The Real Madrid player, who is reported to be the world’s highest paid athlete, has previously denied the allegation, saying his “conscience is clear”.  

Ronaldo allegedly owes more than €14.7 million in income tax from 2011-2014 for the sale of rights to his image.

Spanish media reports suggest that the star allegedly sent money to the British Virgin Islands, an offshore tax haven, using a series of shell companies set up in several countries which bagged Ronaldo an estimated €150 million.

Ronaldo willingly  paid €5.6 million to the Spanish tax authorities (Hacienda)  in 2014 as part of an income tax campaign, which he claims is all that he owes the government for the period 2009 to 2020.

Under the so-called Beckham Law, Ronaldo is only forced to declare payments generated in Spain but the Hacienda now want almost €15 million to cover the remaining four years of his image rights.

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