Spain is among the countries with a strong reputation of being tough on tax evasion, something Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has recently discovered. Following a tax evasion case spanning three quarters of a year, Mourinho has accepted the punishment of a one-year prison sentence. This sentence is the result of a deal he made with the Spanish tax authorities. It makes Mourinho the latest in a line of high-net-worth individuals to face charges of tax evasion in Spain.
Unlikely to Serve Time
Although Mourinho accepted a year in prison as part of the deal, he is not likely to spend any time in jail. That is because the Spanish law specifies that first offenses carrying sentences of less than two years can be served fully on probation.
The Events Leading to the Sentencing
The claim against Mourinho, who is originally from Portugal, began last year. At the time, Spanish prosecutors filed claims against him for two counts of tax fraud from his time coaching Real Madrid. This had already been several years in the past, as Mourinho stopped coaching Real Madrid in 2013, when he went on to manage Chelsea in England again. He became the Manchester United coach in 2016.
According to the Spanish authorities, Mourinho did not declare revenues from image rights in Spanish income tax declarations in both 2011 and 2012. Authorities claim the goal of this failure of declaration was to “obtain illicit profits.” The authorities alleged Mourinho owed €3.3 million ($3.8 million).
To explain the reason for the claims regarding several years ago, the Spanish authorities pointed out that Mourinho had previously settled a claim related to paying a low tax. This was done in a 2014 inquiry that led to Mourinho paying €1.15 million ($1.33 million). The tax authorities later discovered that some information was incorrect, however. Even so, Mourinho had paid more than €26 million in taxes in Spain, averaging a rate of 41 percent.
Not the Only Football Star to Face Spanish Tax Fraud Cases
Mourinho is not the only high-net-worth individual to make the news in recent months for interactions with the Spanish tax authorities. Cristiano Ronaldo, the former Real Madrid player and among the most popular football players in the world, reached a deal in June to pay a fine of €3.2 million ($3.7 million) and received a sentence of 24 months in jail. As with Mourinho, Ronaldo’s prison sentence will be fully served on probation. Lionel Messi, the other biggest name in football, was also recently found guilty of evading taxes, with an evasion amount of almost $5 million.
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