Reportedly a group of 12 European newspapers has alleged that Cristiano Ronaldo has hidden 150 million euros (£126 million) in tax havens, received by him from image rights. These allegations were allegedly based on leaked documents obtained by the German newspaper Der Spiegel, under what they term “the #Football Leaks”. Apparently Ronaldo isn’t alone, as other high profile clients of his agent, Jorge Mendes, have also been implicated, including Jose Mourinho, the manager of the Manchester United football team. Reportedly the European Investigative Collaborations consortium does intend to release details of their findings over the next three weeks.

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Spain’s tax department is investigating claims against Cristiano Ronaldo

The Local quotes Jose Enrique Fernandez de Moya, secretary for the tax office in #Spain, as saying that the information they have on hand does correspond with the information released in the media. He told the radio station COPE that the tax agency is “extraordinarily professional” and that if it has to, officials from the agency will carry out inspections as they see fit.

The French newspaper Mediapart, one of the newspapers involved in the publication, has stated that Ronaldo and Mourinho had both benefitted from a tax optimization scheme developed by Mendes. The newspaper said that various clients of Mendes’ business had made use of the system, via a network of offshore accounts and companies.

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Ronaldo and Mourinho claim their actions are legal

Reportedly both Ronaldo and Mourinho have said they both complied fully with both British and Spanish fiscal requirements and Ronaldo’s lawyers said that a Spanish tax audit aimed at Ronaldo’s tax information is still in progress. According to a report by the Guardian, their Portuguese agent, GestiFute –which is owned by Mendes – has also stated that both parties are fully compliant with their tax obligations with both the British and Spanish tax authorities. The statement went on to say that the use of offshore tax havens is not illegal.

This isn’t the first time that a high profile footballer, playing for a Spanish team, has found himself under investigation by Spanish tax authorities. Earlier in 2016, Lionel Messi of the Barcelona team received a 21-month prison sentence for tax fraud while his fellow Argentinian player, Javier Mascherano received a one-year suspended sentence for the same crime. #Real Madrid