Cristiano Ronaldo has reportedly agreed to settle his tax fraud case by accepting a jail term and millions in fines, according to BBC.
The 33-year-old soccer star, who plays for the Real Madrid and Portugal, had accusations of tax evasion brought against him in 2016, which he initially denied. However, the man who Forbes named the highest paid athlete in the world has reportedly reached a verbal settlement deal with Spanish courts.
Ronaldo, the captain of Portugal’s team, which is currently competing in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, is not likely to serve any time behind bars. According to BBC reports on Friday, he may serve a two year probation sentence as a first time offender.
Aside from those terms, Ronaldo has also reportedly accepted a £16.4m ($21.9 million USD) fine after he was accused of defrauding authorities in the amount of £12.8m ($17 million USD). When news broke about the tax fraud allegations being brought against Ronaldo, his Real Madrid team defended their star forward against the allegations.
“Real Madrid C. F. call for the utmost respect to be shown towards Cristiano Ronaldo, whose conduct has been absolutely exemplary throughout all of his time at our club,” the statement previously made on the Real Madrid website reads.
The soccer star has also received support from his management team, Gestitute, who previously insisted that he did not evade any taxes.
“In the case of Cristiano Ronaldo, no income was hidden at all, since the taxpayer settled and paid taxes at the time he collected the income (within the period legally established and previous to any tax inspection),” the company stated on the Gestitute website last year. “In conclusion: the declared amount can be discussed, but it is clear that the football player did not try to evade taxes.”
The news of Ronaldo’s settlement comes on the same day that he scored a hat trick in the game against Spain that resulted in a 3-3 draw on Friday. He made history by accomplishing the feat, becoming the oldest player in the world to do so.
A hat trick occurs when a player scores three goals in a match. In his post match interview, Ronaldo was not focused on his accomplishment, or the tax case. Instead, he spoke about how proud he was of his team.
“I’m very happy, but most important is what the team achieved,” Ronaldo said. “We faced the favorites for the World Cup, we took the lead twice and we almost won. In the end, I think it was a fair result.”