Spanish tax authorities ask newspaper for ‘Football Leaks’ documents

Madrid, Dec 15 (IANS) Spanish tax authorities have requested the premier daily El Mundo to hand over documents related to the “Football Leaks” revelations of wide-scale tax avoidance by big stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo, the newspaper has revealed.

El Mundo director Pedro Garcia wrote in his column on Wednesday that whether or not the paper complied with the request for “all information and documents of a fiscal interest” would “depend on the authorisation of our sources”, reports Xinhua news agency.

El Mundo is one of 12 European news outlets that began publishing on December 2 the results of investigations into over 18 million financial documents obtained by German magazine Der Spiegel and nicknamed “Football Leaks”.

The leaks allegedly show that agent Jorge Mendes, who looks after the rights of Ronaldo and coach Jose Mourinho, among others, set up a system which saw earnings for image rights paid into companies set up in offshore tax havens.

Ronaldo is accused of hiding around 150 million euros (around $170 million) in the British Virgin Islands, something the recently named 2016 Ballon D’Or winner denies.

However, Ronaldo is not the only player under investigation, with El Mundo confirming that authorities were looking for information on 37 people, with Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema and former Madrid players Mesut Ozil and Angel Di Maria (another client of Mendes) also on the list.