Ronaldo fined $21.6M after pleading guilty to tax fraud

Soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo pleaded guilty to tax fraud in a Madrid Court Tuesday and agreed to pay $21.6 million in fines.

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Ronaldo also received a two-year suspended prison sentence as a first-time offender, which means under Spanish law, he will not be facing jail time.
The 33-year-old Portuguese forward, now playing for Italian club Juventus, faced four counts of tax fraud related to his time playing in Spain for Real Madrid.

The state prosecutor accused him of hiding nearly $17 million in shell companies outside Spain from 2011 to 2014.

Despite the fines, Ronaldo appeared calm while walking outside the Madrid court Tuesday alongside his girlfriend, Georgina Rodriguez.

Forbes listed him as the world’s third-highest-paid athlete last year with an annual income of $108 million.

Ronaldo has also recently faced a separate legal challenge since a woman claimed last year his representatives paid her $375,000 to keep quiet about a rape allegation from 2009.

On Jan. 10, Las Vegas authorities sent a warrant to collect a DNA sample from Ronaldo based on Kathryn Mayorga’s allegation that he raped her at his penthouse suite in the city on June 13, 2009.

Ronaldo has denied the allegations.

“Mr. Ronaldo has always maintained, as he does today, that what occurred in Las Vegas in 2009 was consensual in nature, so it is not surprising that DNA would be present, nor that the police would make this very standard request as part of their investigation,” his lawyer, Peter S. Christiansen, said in a statement on his behalf.

BySommer Brokaw