Cristiano Ronaldo appeared in a courtroom outside Madrid on Wednesday، and although unseen by media، the world-famous footballer testified for around 90 minutes in his multi-million-dollar tax-fraud trial.
They also accuse him of "voluntarily" refusing to include 28.4m euros ($33.6m) in income linked to the sale of his image rights for the 2015 to 2020 period to a Spanish company.
According to a statement released by his public relations firm, the 32-year-old Ronaldo told the judge: "I have never hidden anything, and never tried to avoid taxes".
"I always make my tax returns on a voluntary basis because I think we all have to declare and pay taxes based on our income. Those that know me, know what I ask my advisors: that they have everything up to date and properly paid, because I don't want problems", he added. Despite the expectation of journalists from almost 200 media outlets waiting outside، Ronaldo entered the courthouse in a black van with tinted windows and left، unseen، without speaking to the media.
Hundreds of journalists from over 15 different countries and around 40 TV cameras descended on the town in anticipation of catching a glimpse of the soccer legend.
Ronaldo has been accused by the Spanish prosecutors of defrauding the authorities of nearly 15 million Euros.More news: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV
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Prosecutors say the Real Madrid superstar owes €14.7 million in taxes for image rights between 2011-201, but Ronaldo reportedly told judge Monica Gomez Ferrer that he had been unfairly targeted by the prosecutors only because of his high profile.
Ronaldo was said to be relaxed as he arrived at the court buildings in Pozuelo in suburban Madrid on Monday morning.
Ronaldo's nemesis, Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, was handed a 21-month prison sentence after being found guilty of tax evasion previous year, although earlier this month the court ruled that he could pay €252,000 in place of jail time.
Ronaldo told the court he did not create a "special structure" to manage his image rights when he moved to Real in 2009 but simply maintained the one set up in 2004 while he was at Manchester United "long before I thought of coming to Spain". Last year Ronaldo's footballing rival، Lionel Messi، was found guilty of evading more than €4.1 million ($4.8 million) and handed a fine and a 21-month prison sentence.
"The structure was a normal one in England; it was verified by the English treasury and ratified as legal and legitimate". "Now is time to let the justice system work".