Cristiano Ronaldo tax fraud case: Never concealed anything, says football star

Portuguese football icon Cristiano Ronaldo and his team, has allegedly, at Gestitude avoided paying taxes.

Cristiano Ronaldo
Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo will lead Portugal in Euro 2016 Reuters

Portuguese football icon Cristiano Ronaldo was in Madrid on Monday where he was due to appear in a Spanish Court for a pre-trial hearing that lasted for an hour and a half.

Accused of tax fraud, prosecutors at Spain's Hacienda agency claimed that Ronaldo and his team at Gestitude avoided paying taxes by routing his image rights income through an array of different companies from 2011 to 2014.

Reports claim that his mood took a turn during the proceedings, and at one point he even decided to let the judge have a piece of his mind, saying: "I'm only here because I'm Cristiano Ronaldo"

Judge Monica Gomez Ferrer shot back, saying "You are mistaken. Plenty of anonymous people have sat where you are.

You are under investigation for an alleged financial crime based on the evidence provided and upon which it is my duty to make a ruling."

Ronaldo, who is the highest paid athlete in the world, denied all charges earlier, saying: "I have never concealed anything, nor did I intend to evade taxes."

"The Spanish Treasury knows all about my income in detail, because we voluntarily gave it to them"

Ronaldo, who was on an extended break following the Confederations Cup and the birth of his twin sons earlier this summer, had missed the whole of Madrid's pre-season tour of the United States including the International Champions Cup matches.

Manager Zinedine Zidane has said Ronaldo is expected to join up with the squad on their return to Europe on Saturday.

He is most likely to miss the UEFA Super Cup match against Manchester United on Aug. 8, or the Spanish Supercopa matches against Barcelona on Aug. 13 and 16.

Ronaldo's nemesis, Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, was handed a 21-month prison sentence after being found guilty of tax evasion last year, although earlier this month the court ruled that he could pay €252,000 in place of jail time.

The Real Madrid star has been accused of evading €14.7m ($17.3m; £13.1m) in tax, and could end up with a fine of "at least €28million" (£25million) and three-and-a-half years' jail, if the case ends up going to trial and he is found guilty.