Cristiano Ronaldo Pleads Guilty in Tax Fraud Case

Soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo pleaded guilty to tax fraud on Tuesday and received a two-year suspended jail sentence, the Associated Press reports.

According to the outlet, a judge can suspend sentences for two years or less for first-time offenders under Spanish law, meaning that Ronaldo will not spend any time behind bars.

The 33-year-old forward reportedly agreed to pay nearly €19 million, which is equivalent to about $21.6 million in fines.

The charges date back to when Ronaldo still played on Real Madrid, when a state prosecutor brought forward charges in 2017, accusing Ronaldo of four counts of tax fraud from 2011 to 2014 worth €14.7 million ($16.7 million USD). He initially denied claims he had hid income from his image rights by using shell companies, but ultimately agreed to plead guilty to tax fraud in 2018.

The accusations did not involve his salary from Real Madrid, where he played since 2009 until joining the Italian club Juventus last year.

The athlete reportedly spent about 45 minutes in the courtroom Tuesday at Las Audiencia Provincial in Madrid, Spain, where he appeared with his girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez. Wearing all black, he reportedly didn't make any comments regarding the court date or his plea, although he did stop to sign an autograph before walking up some stairs leading to the courthouse.

He smiled broadly as he left court, again stopping to sign autographs for a few fans. The court had dismissed his request to enter the building directly from the parking lot, which would have allowed him to avoid the several hundred journalists waiting outside. The court denied the request, saying that it didn't think the security measure was needed.

Meanwhile, Ronaldo is also facing a rape allegation in the United States. Kathryn Mayorga filed a civil lawsuit in Nevada in September claiming that Ronaldo raped her in his Las Vegas hotel room in 2009. Police reopened an old investigation into the allegation at her request. Ronaldo has denied the accusation.


"I firmly deny the accusations being issued against me," the soccer star tweeted in October. "Rape is an abominable crime that goes against everything that I am and believe in. Keen as I may be to clear my name, I refuse to feed the media spectacle created by people seeking to promote themselves at my expense."

In a second tweet, he wrote, "My clear conscious will thereby allow me to await with tranquillity the results of any and all investigations."