Spanish prosecutors in Madrid have filed a lawsuit against Real Madrid footballer Cristiano Ronaldo for tax evasion. Rumors suggesting the Portuguese superstar avoided taxes on millions of dollars in offshore accounts around the world began circulating back in December, to which he denied. Today’s news accuses the world’s highest paid athlete of evading taxes from 2011 to 2014, equaling a sum of €14.7 million EUR (approximately $16.5 million USD). BBC reports that the prosecutor’s office released a statement alleging Ronaldo “knowingly used a ‘business structure’ to hide income made from his image rights.”
Ronaldo is not the only La Liga footballer to be accused of tax evasion: last July rival Lionel Messi was sentenced to 21 months in prison for defrauding Spain of €4.1 million EUR (approximately $4.6 million USD) between 2007 and 2009. However due to a statute in Spain that states those who are sentenced to under two years of prison time for non-violent crimes are instead handed longer probation sentences, Messi will likely not see the inside of a jail cell anytime soon.