Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo complained to a judge that he’s only at the centre of a tax evasion investigation because of who he is, rather than anything he’s done.
The Portugal international denied he evaded tax or hid details of his income from the authorities, while his exchange with the judge also came in the first behind closed doors meeting of the pre-trail hearing.
The Independent cites an unnamed Spanish media outlet which states that during the hearing Ronaldo said: “If I wasn’t called Cristiano Ronaldo, I wouldn’t be sat here.”
In response, judge Mónica Gómez Ferrer said: “You are mistaken. Plenty of anonymous people have sat where you are.
“You are under investigation for an alleged financial crime based on the evidence provided and upon which it is my duty to make a ruling.”
Ronaldo, who appeared in a magistrates court in Pozuelo de Alarcón, Madrid, is accused evading €14.7m (£13.1m) in tax between 2011 to 2014.
The 34-year-old’s management company also released a statement on Ronaldo’s behalf after the hearing which backed up his claims that he’s innocent of any wrongdoing.
“The Spanish treasury knows every detail about my income because it’s been given to them; I never concealed anything and I never tried to evade taxes,” the statement read.
“I always make my tax returns on a voluntary basis because I think we all have to declare and pay taxes based on our income.
“Those who know me know what I ask my advisers to do: have everything update and paid promptly because I do not want any problems.”
Ronaldo’s alleged tax evasion is centred around an apparent image rights deal which the Public Prosecutor believes took place in 2010, but the statement continued to argue that the deal was actually made six years earlier.
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