Mourinho appears in Madrid court over tax fraud allegations

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho
was grilled by a judge in Spain on Friday
over accusations of a 3.3 million euro ($3.8
million) tax fraud during his time in charge
of Real Madrid in 2011 and 2012.
The 54-year-old did not speak to reporters
as he arrived for the court hearing in
Pozuelo de Alarcon, an upscale Madrid
suburb where he used to live, which comes
just over 48 hours before he is set to return
to Stamford Bridge to face old side Chelsea
on Sunday.
The Portuguese coach, who wore a suit
with no tie, is the latest high-profile football
figure to be questioned over his tax affairs.
He entered the main door of the court
without his lawyers, who arrived before
Spanish prosecutors accuse Mourinho, who
coached Madrid between 2010 and 2013,
of failing to declare income of 1.6 million
euros in 2011 and 1.7 million euros in
The basis for the case, as with a series of
football stars based in Spain, is how income
from Mourinho's image rights was
managed and declared.
Prosecutors believe by ceding his image
rights to a series of companies based in tax
havens, Mourinho committed fraud by not
declaring the income those companies
made from his image rights.
Mourinho is just one of a number of super
agent Jorge Mendes's clients to be
investigated in Spain, including World Player
of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo.
Revelations from the whistleblowing
website Football Leaks have lifted the veil
on the practices supposedly used by
Mendes to optimise often enormous
earnings from image rights by his clients.
Media consortium European Investigative
Collaborations(EIC) has claimed that no less
than 185 million euros worth of income
escaped the attention of tax authorities
through the use of shell companies and
offshore accounts.
Other clients of Mendes to be investigated
in Spain include the former Real defenders
Fabio Coentrao and Ricardo Carvalho,
Colombian striker Radamel Falcao, now with
Monaco but formerly at Atletico Madrid, and
Paris Saint Germain's Angel di Maria, who
also spent four years at Real Madrid.
Ronaldo, Messi tax woes
A statement in June from Mendes's
Gestifute agency claimed Mourinho had
already settled his tax obligation in Spain.
"Jose Mourinho, who lived in Spain from
June 2010 until May 2013, paid more than
26 million euros in taxes, with an average
tax rate over 41 percent, and accepted the
regularisation proposals made by the
Spanish tax authorities in 2015 regarding
the years of 2011 and 2012 and entered
into a settlement agreement regarding
"The Spanish Government in turn, through
the Tax Department, issued a certificate in
which it attested that he had regularised
his position and was in compliance with all
his tax obligations."
In July, Ronaldo gave evidence at the same
Pozuelo de Alarcon court in northwest
Madrid as Mourinho, accused of evading
14.7 million euros through offshore
companies between 2011 and 2014.
A judge is yet to decide whether Ronaldo's
case will proceed to trial.
Barcelona’s five-time World Player of the
Year Lionel Messi was sentenced to a 21-
month suspended jail sentence and 2.09
million euro fine last year for tax fraud
related to his image rights.
However, the jail term was later replaced by
an extra 252,000 euro fine.
Messi and his father Jorge Horacio Messi
were found guilty of using companies in
Belize, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and
Uruguay to avoid paying taxes on 4.16
million euros of Messi’s income earned from
his image rights from 2007 to 2009.
Barcelona defender Javier Mascherano also
agreed a one-year suspended sentence
with authorities for tax fraud last year.
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