Cristiano Ronaldo, the Real Madrid football superstar, has reached an agreement with Spanish tax authorities to serve two years in prison and pay an 18.8m euro ($21.8m) fine in a tax evasion case, Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported on Friday.
The 33-year-old, winner of the Best Footballer of the Year in 2017, is unlikely to serve the jail term under the deal because Spanish law states that a sentence of under two years for a first offence can be served on probation.
The Portuguese forward, representing his country at the ongoing Russia 2018 World Cup, is accused of evading 14.7m euro in taxes via a shell company based in the British Virgin Islands and another in Ireland, known for low corporate tax rates.
In addition, prosecutors say Ronaldo declared only 11.5m euro ($13.6m) of Spanish-related income from 2011 to 2014, during which time his actual earnings were close to 43m euro ($50.8m).
They also accuse him of “voluntarily” refusing to include 28.4m euro ($33.6m) in income linked to the sale of his image rights for the 2015 to 2020 period to a Spanish company.
Ronaldo had previously denied the charges through his agents.
The Real Madrid player is the latest football star to fall foul of Spain’s taxman.
Barcelona’s Lionel Messi was handed a 21-month prison sentence in 2017 on similar charges but under Spanish law was able to exchange it for a fine.
Prosecutors alleged he had taken “advantage of a company structure created in 2010 to hide income generated in Spain from his image rights from tax authorities.”