Former Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo should be in prison, says Spanish financial crime tsar

Ronaldo is one of the highest-paid football players in the world

Cristiano Ronaldo moved from Manchester United to Real Madrid in 2009

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Spain's leading financial crime authority has said Cristiano Ronaldo should be in prison - a claim which has apparently been mocked by the Real Madrid star.

Ronaldo is accused of defrauding the Spanish tax office of 15 million euros (£13.3 million) and this is more than sufficient grounds for incacercation, according to Caridad Gomez, who heads up the Central Coordination Unit of the Spanish finance ministry on matters of financial crime.

Gomez, addressing a court hearing into Ronaldo's alleged fraud, was quoted by El Mundo as saying "Honestly, we have people in prison for having not paid 125,000 euros."

Ronaldo's defence claims the former Manchester United player is the victim of a mere oversight. But Gomez said the Portuguese star's alleged fraud is completely deliberate, claiming Ronaldo has used "financial paradises and fronts" to hide the money accruing from his image rights.

However Ronaldo has published a picture, apparently in response to Gomez's comments, playing down the threat of jail.

The picture, which shows Ronaldo sitting on a sofa alongside his children, is accompanied by the caption "I am prisoner to these beautiful babies, hahahaha".

 

Estou PRESO a estes bebés lindos ahahahah ❤️❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/RogaRwDJra

— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) December 26, 2017

 

Several high-profile football players and managers have been targeted by the Spanish tax authorities, with the cases invariably centring on the stars' image rights.

The most famous case has involved Lionel Messi, who was handed a 21-month jail sentence - but will not serve a single day of his term, as jail stints of less than two years are served suspended under Spanish law.