Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo accused of hiding money in tax havens

Ronaldo made these comments on Instagram on Tuesday, a day after he appeared in a Madrid court in connection with a tax evasion case.

Berlin, Dec 3 : Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo could become embroiled in legal problems after information emerrged that he may have avoided paying millions of dollars in taxes by funnelling income to a company in the Caribbean.

Efe quoted German newsweekly Der Spiegel as saying on its website on Friday that Germany international Mesut Özil, a former Real Madrid star who now plays for Arsenal, and ex-Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho — currently with Manchester United — may also be implicated in the scheme.

The information emerged from a leak of nearly 19 million documents that found their way to the European Investigative Collaborations (EIC), a consortium of media outfits that includes Der Spiegel, Spain’s El Mundo, The Sunday Times of Britain and France-based Mediapart.

Ronaldo, who led Portugal to victory in the Euro 2016 football tournament after helping Real Madrid win their record 11th Champions League trophy, used a company in the British Virgin Island to conceal 75 million euros ($80 million) in income from endorsements, Der Spiegel said.

The EIC report says the tax evasion mechanism was developed by Ronaldo’s agent, Jorge Mendes.

Gestifute, Mendes’ company, said in a response to the EIC allegations that Ronaldo and Mourinho had “fully respected their obligations vis-a-vis the Spanish and British authorities”.

The EIC member institutions say they plan to publish further revelations of wrongdoing in soccer over the coming weeks.