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Real Madrid defend Ronaldo over tax evasion allegations

REAL MADRID DEFEND RONALDO OVER TAX EVASION ALLEGATIONS

Real Madrid backed star forward Cristiano Ronaldo on Wednesday after Spanish prosecutors accused the star player of evading 14.7 million euros in tax through offshore companies.

Real Madrid defended Cristiano Ronaldo on Wednesday against the accusation he has defrauded the Spanish Tax Office of 14.7 million euros (16.5 million dollars).

"We have full confidence in our player Cristiano Ronaldo, who we understand has acted in accordance with the legality regarding the fulfilment of his fiscal obligations," Real said in a statement.

"Since his arrival at Real Madrid C.F in July 2009, Cristiano Ronaldo has always shown a clear will to fulfil all his tax obligations. Real Madrid C.F. are absolutely convinced that our player, Cristiano Ronaldo, will prove his total innocence in this process."

Madrid's regional state prosecutor accused Ronaldo on Tuesday of failing to pay the correct amount of tax over a four-year period from 2011 to 2014.

It said, in a statement on Tuesday, that the Real Madrid forward "took advantage of a business structure created in 2010" set-up to knowingly hide image rights earnings.

It will now be up to a judge to decide if there are grounds to take the matter to court. Ronaldo's agency Gestifute said in a statement issued on Tuesday: "There is no off shore structure for evading taxes. There has never been concealment, or any intention to conceal."

Ronaldo's agency has previously claimed the player was up to date on his taxes and it had been thought he would escape legal proceedings because in 2014 he voluntarily put his fiscal affairs in order by making an extra payment of 6 million euros.

Ronaldo's lawyers argue the attempt in 2014 to adjust his fiscal contribution before being investigated differentiates his case from Lionel Messi's.

The Barcelona footballer was given a 21-month sentence last year, which he is unlikely to serve, for having defrauded the national purse of 4.1 million euros of undeclared image rights earnings.

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