Ronaldo protests innocence after court appearance

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POZUELO DE ALARCON, Spain (Reuters) – Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo protested his innocence after testifying in court on Monday against charges of evading 14.7 million euros ($17.3 million) in taxes.

The 32-year-old Portuguese, who was in the Pozuelo de Alarcon court for about 90 minutes, declined to speak to reporters afterwards, but he released a statement through his agency Gestifute.

“The Spanish tax authorities know my income in detail, because we have given it to them. I have never hidden anything in my declarations, nor have I had the smallest intention of evading taxes,” Ronaldo said.

“I always make my declarations voluntarily, because I think we all have to declare and pay tax in accordance to our incomes. Those who know me know what I ask my advisors: that they take their time on it and pay correctly, because I don’t want problems.”

Ronaldo explained that he did not create a special structure to manage his image rights after joining Real from Manchester United in 2010, saying he utilised the set-up which was deemed “legal and legitimate” by English tax authorities.

Spanish courts have recently cracked down on tax evasion among leading footballers.

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi was handed a 21-month prison sentence this year on similar charges but under Spanish law was able to exchange the penalty for a fine.

($1 = 0.8508 euros)

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Godwin Okafor is a financial journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and the Founder Naija247news Media Ltd He has over 16 experiences in journalism, which cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career in Business Day, Where he was a senior editorial graphic artist, before he left to start Naija247news, An Online Financial Newspaper in 2010. He has won series of awards and he is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.com and also sits on the board of Students In Business Awards, (SIBA). He currently lives in Manhattan New York

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