Cristiano Ronaldo to appear in court on tax charges today

Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo is due to appear in a Spanish court later today, to answer charges of evading millions in tax, BB...

Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo is due to appear in a Spanish court later today, to answer charges of evading millions in tax, BBC reports.

Prosecutors allege Ronaldo, reported to be the world's highest paid athlete, has evaded €14.7m ($17.3m; £13.1m) in tax since 2010.

The Real Madrid star has previously denied the allegation, saying his "conscience is clear".

According to prosecutors, Ronaldo allegedly took "advantage of a company structure created in 2010 to hide income generated in Spain from his image rights from tax authorities" which was a "voluntary and conscious breach of his fiscal obligations in Spain".

Ronaldo's management have also denied the allegations.

The four times world best footballer is the latest in a string of footballers to be pursued by the Spanish tax authorities.

Argentina's Lionel Messi, who plays for Barcelona, was handed a 21-month prison sentence after being found guilty of the same charge last year.

Earlier this month, the court ruled he could pay €252,000 in place of jail time.

However, Messi was only accused of evading €4.1m in tax, €10.6m less than Ronaldo, who will give evidence in his case at a court in the Madrid suburb of Pozuelo de Alarcon on Monday.

But if the case is sent to trial and he is found guilty, the Portuguese forward could face a fine of "at least €28m" and a prison sentence of three-and-a-half years,BBC quoted  the Gestha union of experts at Spain's Inland Revenue as saying.

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