Xabi Alonso has claimed innocence in tax fraud case.  |  Photo Credit: AP
Former Real Madrid and Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso is facing tax fraud charges in Spain, after refusing to settle the matter outside the court. It has been said that 37-year-old Alonso could be jailed for five years if he is found guilty of evading taxes. The Spanish authorities are alleging that the former Bayern Munich midfielder did not declare his earnings from image rights and owes the authorities almost 3 million dollars.
But Alonso has decided that he will refuse to accept the charges and will subsequently take the matter to court. He has maintained that he is innocent and has rejected any type of agreement with the Spanish government. He will now appear before the court on 22 January. The 2010-World Cup winner and now retired playmaker wants to give his side of the story and clarify the case on “principle”. The authorities are alleging that Alonso did not declare 5 million euros from his image rights when he was playing with Real Madrid from 2009 to 2014.
The tax authorities in Spain wants a multi-million dollar fine on Alonso while also demanding him to pay back his amount owed. Interestingly, the Public Prosecutor wants him jailed for eight years rather than a five-year term that the authorities are calling for. But some reports in Spain are stating that Alonso could not be jailed even if he loses the case.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi had both faced charges from the Spanish tax authorities last year. Messi and his father were both found guilty of three counts of tax fraud of around 4.7 million euros. Messi’s 21-month prison sentence was replaced with a fine, which could be was believed to be around 255,500 euros, in addition to 2 million and 1.5 million euros they owed the authorities.
The Spanish prosecutors also accused Ronaldo of defrauding tax office of around 14.7 million euros in unpaid taxes by hiding "income generated in Spain from image rights." Ronaldo had also denied the charges.
Javier Mascherano and Jose Mourinho were also accused of tax fraud. Mascherano got a one-year suspended sentence after admitting tax fraud while Mourinho has refused to accept the charges.