7 Prominent Football Figures Convicted for Tax Fraud

The occurrence of tax evasion fraud among top footballers has always been an issue in some countries in Europe. Chief among these countries is Spain.

The Spanish tax authorities have over the last 10 years accused and found guilty a lot of key figures in the La Liga. From players to their agents and even their family members, tax authorities have always found a way to make the defaulters brought to justice; expensive justice.

Top players like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have been victims (or should I say convicted felons) of tax authorities in the past, very recent past in fact – in the case of CR7. With another notable conviction announced yesterday, let’s look at a list of the top 7 prominent football figures that have been found guilty of tax fraud;

  1. Jose Mourinho

Former Manchester United coach, Mourinho was yesterday convicted of tax fraud in Spain. He was charged with failing to declare his earnings from image rights worth up to €3.3m during his time as the coach of Real Madrid from 2011-2012. He accepted the charges and was sentenced to 1 year imprisonment and asked to pay a fine of €182,500 plus an additional €2m. Luckily, in Spain, first time non-violent offenders with less than two-year sentence are normally have their sentences suspended.

  1. Cristiano Ronaldo

In 2017, Cristiano Ronaldo was accused by Spanish tax authorities of evading €14.7million earnings from image rights between 2011 and 2014. The player agreed to a deal and accepted the charges, leading to a two-year prison sentence and a fine payment of €18.8million.

  1. Alexis Sanchez

Last year, Manchester United forward Alexis Sanchez was charged with defrauding Spanish treasury of €1m during his time in Spain playing for Barcelona from 2012-2013. He reached an agreement with the Spanish and accepted the charges after which he was slammed with a 16-month jail term. He also paid back the full amount plus interest.

  1. Angel Di Maria

Paris Saint-Germain star player, Di Maria in 2016 admitted to two counts of fraud and was sentenced to 1 year in prison. He was also fined a total of €2million in fines and pay-back taxes. He was charged because he failed to declare earnings up to €1.298million between 2012 and 2013 when he played at the Spanish capital for Real Madrid.

  1. Lionel Messi

In 2013, Argentine playmaker, Messi and his father were charged with evading tax payments of up to €4.16million from the player’s image rights between 2005 and 2013. The Messis were tried in 2015 even after paying a ‘corrective payment’ of €5million, and sentenced to 21-month imprisonment in 2016.

  1. Uli Hoeness

In Germany, Bayern president, Uli Hoeness was convicted of tax evasion in March 2014. He was convicted of hiding up to €28.5million and sentenced to three and half years in prison. Unlike in Spain, Hoeness actually went to jail and served half of his prison term before he was released in 2016. Uli Hoeness then got back his position as Bayern president by the end of the same year.

  1. Javier Mascherano

Former Barcelona midfielder, Javier Mascherano was sentenced to 1-year in prison for not properly paying taxes up to €1.5million in Spain while he played for Barcelona between 2011 and 2012. He was also fined nearly €800,000 in bay-back taxes.

Other players that have been charged and convicted by the Spanish authorities include Luka Modric, Ramadel Falcao, Fabio Coentrao, Xavier Alonso, Samuel Eto’o (not yet convicted) and super-agent Jorge Mendes.

Who do you think will be accused next?


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