Portuguese soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo has long been a darling of the gay blogosphere — perhaps it’s his LGBTQ-allyship, his rumored homosexuality or his affinity for doing underwear shoots. Either way, Spanish prosecutors have accused the athlete of four counts of tax fraud.
The prosecutors allege that Ronaldo “took advantage of a business structure created in 2010 to hide from fiscal authorities income generated in Spain from image rights.”
In short, they’re accusing Ronaldo of several things. Foremost, they say he used a shell company, an inactive company that “serves as a vehicle for business transactions without itself having any significant assets or operations,” as a way of hiding income from Spain’s Tax Office.
They say that Ronaldo “intentionally” omitted $31.8 million of income that he made selling his image rights in Spain from 2015 onward. Furthermore, prosecutors accuse Ronaldo of only declaring $12.8 million in earnings from 2011 to 14 in his 2014 tax return when in reality, prosecutors estimate that his income was closer to $48 million.
Interestingly, Ronaldo is not the first soccer player to be accused of such charges. Last year, Argentinian soccer player Lionel Messi was convicted of tax fraud after Spanish tax officials discovered undeclared income made from selling his image rights in Spain. Messi isn’t expected to serve any prison time though because it was a first-time offense.
Back in 2009, Cristiano Ronaldo spoke in favor of same-sex marriage in his home country of Portugal during the World Cup interviews. He said, “We must respect the choices made by anyone, because, after all, all citizens should have the exact same rights and responsibilities.”
Earlier this year, he was immortalized in a bronze statue that was largely derided as ugly and resembling Eric Trump, the third child and second son of U.S. President Donald Trump, moreso than Ronaldo. The statue also reminded folks of the infamous ugly statue of comedienne Lucille Ball.