Ronaldo 'Accepts Two-year Suspended Prison Sentence And Pays £12.1m' To End Tax Dispute

Cristiano Ronaldo has ended his dispute with the Spanish tax authorities by agreeing to pay £12.1million and accepting a two-year suspended prison sentence, according to reports in Spain.

Spanish outlet Cadena Cope claim the 33-year-old made the payment to the Spanish treasury last week but has also agreed to pay a further £4.7m in administrative costs, which will be made at a later date.

Ronaldo has, according to the same report, accepted a two-year suspended prison sentence. Spanish law allows sentences of two years and under to be served under probation, meaning he will not spend any time behind bars.

If true, it brings an end to a year-long investigation over what the Spanish authorities claimed was a 'voluntary' and 'conscious' bid from Ronaldo to avoid paying tax on his image-rights earnings between 2011 and 2014, totaling £12.8m.

Ronaldo was accused of ceding his image rights to a company in the British Virgin Islands so as to avoid paying tax on them in Spain. The Spanish Prosecutor claimed the company set up in the British Virgin Islands was a shell company established to defraud the taxman. 

The Portuguese forward has always denied the accusations put against him, but has agreed to pay much of what the authorities claim was owed to them in order to avoid the prospect of a criminal trial.

Tax authorities in Spain have accused a number of prominent football figures of the same or similar schemes. Lionel Messi, Jose Mourinho Alexis Sanchez, Luka Modric and Neymar have all appeared in Spanish courts over alleged tax fraud in recent years.

Ronaldo has been in the news for very different reasons this month after completing a £100m transfer from Real Madrid to Serie A side Juventus. It brought an end to a nine-year stay in the Spanish capital and he hailed the prospect of a new challenge.

But La Liga president Javier Tebas believes Ronaldo would not have considered the transfer had the Spanish tax laws been more in his favour, saying the rate for high earners drove him to Turin.

Tebas said: 'I think that fiscally it favours him to go to Italy. Here, in Spain, we have a problem with fiscal competition.

'Out of the biggest leagues, Spain is where the players have the worst tax situation.

'It's not that elsewhere the rate is so much lower, but when you're earning significant sums then these little differences in rates translate to a lot of money for the players.'