Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo denies tax fraud

World Today

Cristiano Ronaldo (FILES) This file photo taken on June 02, 2017 shows Real Madrid’s Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo arrives at the team’s hotel in Cardiff, south Wales, on June 2, 2017 ahead of the UEFA Champions League final football match between Juventus and Real Madrid in Cardiff on June 3. / AFP PHOTO / JAVIER SORIANO

Cristiano Ronaldo appeared before a Spanish judge Monday as part of an investigation to determine whether the Portugal forward committed tax fraud worth almost 15 million euros ($16.5 million dollars).

The Real Madrid player spent more than 90 minutes answering the questions of investigating judge Monica Gomez.

The session at Pozuelo de Alarcon Court No. 1 on the outskirts of Madrid was closed to the public because it is part of an ongoing investigation.

The 32-year-old Ronaldo used an alternative entrance to avoid a large swarm of journalists gathered near the main door to the court.

Court officials had said that either Ronaldo or his lawyer would speak to the media after he saw the judge, but neither stepped up to the temporary podium in front of the courthouse.

Instead, spokesman Inaki Torres emerged from the building to announce that Ronaldo “was on his way home”.

Judge Gomez took Ronaldo’s testimony as part of an investigation to determine if there are grounds to charge him.

In June, a state prosecutor accused Ronaldo of four counts of tax fraud from 2011-14 worth 14.7 million euros ($16.5 million).

The prosecutor accused the Portugal forward of having used shell companies outside Spain to hide income made from image rights.

The accusation does not involve his salary from Real Madrid.

Ronaldo denied any wrongdoing.

Story compiled with information from The Associated Press and AFP.