Ronaldo reaches deal with Spain’s Tax Office to end tax case

Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Spain’s Tax Office has accepted a deal with Cristiano Ronaldo to plead guilty to tax fraud and pay a fine of close to $22 million in exchange for a reduced prison sentence that will likely be suspended.

A source with knowledge of the deal confirmed to The Associated Press on Thursday the agreement will be finalized in the coming days.

The deal was first reported in Spanish media.

In Spain, a judge can suspend sentences for two years or less for first-time offenders.

Ronaldo had already reached a tentative deal with the state prosecutor’s office, but Spain’s tax authorities had yet to sign off on the agreement.

Last year, a Spanish state prosecutor accused Ronaldo of four counts of tax fraud from 2011-14 worth $16.5 million. The prosecutor accused the Portugal forward of having used shell companies outside Spain to hide income made from image rights. The accusation does not involve his salary from his former Real Madrid club.

Ronaldo denied any wrongdoing when questioned by a judge last July.

Ronaldo left Madrid this month to sign for Italian champion Juventus.

In 2016, Barcelona forward Lionel Messi received a suspended 21-month jail sentence after being found guilty of defrauding tax authorities of $4.6 million.