Mourinho declares innocence in Spanish tax fraud claims

Manchester United Football Club manager José Mourinho has said that he is innocent of tax fraud and has had his tax affairs signed off and ratified by the Spanish government, according to his advisers.

Mourinho has been accused by Spanish prosecutors of defrauding the Spanish government of €3.3m (£2.9m; $3.6m) in taxes, during the period that he was manager of Real Madrid from 2011 to 2012.

Spanish prosecutors have said that Mourinho, 54, did not declare income from image rights in order to get an “illicit benefit”. However, a statement released on his behalf by his advisers has said he “has not received any notification” on the matter.

The Gestifute Media release said: “Jose Mourinho has not received any notification with regards to the news published today (June 20th). To this date, neither the Spanish tax authorities, nor the public prosecutor have contacted Jose Mourinho or his advisers who were hired for the inspection process.”

“The Spanish government in turn, through the tax department, issued a certificate (pictured left) in which it attested that he had regularised his position and was in compliance with all his tax obligations.”

The statement also said Mourinho had “paid more than €26m in taxes [to the Spanish government], with an average tax rate of over 41%” during the three years until May 2013 and that he also “entered into a settlement agreement” with the Spanish tax authorities after a change of rules in 2015.

As reported here in December, Mourinho was named in an online ‘Football Leaks’ database as a potential offender, alongside many other big names in the sport.

There is a growing list of football stars being investigated and prosecuted in Spain over accusations of tax evasion. The main claim is in connection with allegedly undeclared income from the sale of image rights by using companies based outside the country.

Other prominent football figures have been accused of tax fraud in Spain in recent months.

Cristiano Ronaldo

As reported, Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo, who played under Mourinho and shares the same agent, has also been accused of defrauding tax authorities of €14.7m, by also hiding his income from image rights, a claim that he angrily refutes

He denies the accusations and has said, according to reports in Portugal that he will “never play in Spain again”. Ironically, Ronaldo could be reunited with Mourinho, with his former club Manchester United the club most likely to sign Ronaldo should he leave. The Portugal international is set to give evidence in his case on 31 July.

Cristiano Ronaldo and José Mourinho are both clients of the football agent Jorge Mendes. Other Mendes charges being investigated for alleged tax evasion while playing in La Liga include Ricardo Carvalho, Ángel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao.

All are accused of using a similar system, whereby their image rights were owned by companies registered in the British Virgin Islands or Panama, and which allegedly received money from intermediaries based in Ireland.

Additional Gestifute statement

A statement released by Mr Mendes’ company Gestifute last week, countering reports that he was being investigated alongside Monaco FC footballer Colombian Radamel Falcao, said that the Portuguese agent did “not participate or offer any services related directly or indirectly with financial, tax or legal consulting for his clients”.

Footballers are routinely being accused of tax evasion and in some cases fraud across the world. Spain with Barcelona and Argentina footballer Lionel Messi was handed a 21-month suspended jail term last year and Barcelona defender Javier Mascherano – also an Argentine – has admitted tax fraud. Mascherano escaped a jail term with a one-year suspended sentence.

Elsewhere Barcelona and Brazil forward Neymar is facing allegations of corruption and fraud over his transfer to the Spanish club in 2013 – a case which also involves his parents. Prosecutors allege the transfer cost much more than publicly declared, and that millions were concealed from authorities.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gary Robinson
Deputy Editor, International Investment and Head of Video at Open Door Media Publishing. A fully qualified journalist and filmmaker with more than 20 years' financial services experience, both as journalist and originally as an IFA.

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