A Spanish court sentenced Cristiano Ronaldo to 23 months in prison and ordered him to pay a €18.8 million ($21.44 million) fine for tax evasion. However, since prison sentences of less than two years are normally not served in Spain, the former Real Madrid star will not spend time behind bars.
Ronaldo’s sentence was pronounced by the Regional Madrid Court when he reached a deal with the prosecution after he admitted to committing four tax crimes between 2011-14. He was ordered to appear in person at the court to hear his sentencing.
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Prosecutors estimated Ronaldo defrauded around 14.7 million euros, although they reduced the figure to 5.7 million euros after the Portuguese footballer took the plea deal. Between interests and fines, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner, who played for Real Madrid from 2009 to 2014 and moved to the Serie A club Juventus last summer, will have to hand over almost 19 million euros to the public purse.
After his request to enter the Madrid court via the garage in order to avoid the media spotlight was refused by a judge, Ronaldo arrived with his partner before a crowd of journalists and excited fans.
His former colleague and ex-Spain international Xabi Alonso also appeared at the Madrid court.
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The prosecutors have asked for a sentence of five years' imprisonment and a 4 million-euro fine on three counts of tax evasion Alonso allegedly committed between 2010-12. Unlike Ronaldo, the Basque player has maintained his innocence.
Ronaldo and Alonso join footballers such as Luka Modric, Marcelo, Radamel Falcao, Angel Di Maria and Javier Mascherano in accepting a plea deal with Spanish authorities for crimes against the public treasury.
(With inputs from IANS)
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