Friday, 18 October 2019

Manchester United boss facing $3.8 million tax fraud charges

Jose Mourinho

MADRID: Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho was grilled by a judge in Spain on Friday over accusations of a €3.3 million ($3.8 million) tax fraud during his time in charge of Real Madrid in 2011 and 2012.

The 54-year-old did not speak to reporters as he arrived for the court hearing in Pozuelo de Alarcon, an upscale Madrid suburb where he used to live, which comes just over 48 hours before he is set to return to Stamford Bridge to face old side Chelsea on Sunday.

The Portuguese coach, who wore a suit with no tie, is the latest high-profile football figure to be questioned over his tax affairs.

He entered the main door of the court without his lawyers, who arrived before him.

Spanish prosecutors accuse Mourinho, who coached Madrid between 2010 and 2013, of failing to declare income of €1.6 million in 2011 and €1.7 million in 2012.

The basis for the case, as with a series of football stars based in Spain, is how income from Mourinho’s image rights was managed and declared.

Prosecutors believe by ceding his image rights to a series of companies based in tax havens, Mourinho committed fraud by not declaring the income those companies made from his image rights.

Mourinho is just one of a number of super agent Jorge Mendes’s clients to be investigated in Spain, including World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo.

Revelations from the whistleblowing website Football Leaks have lifted the veil on the practices supposedly used by Mendes to optimise often enormous earnings from image rights by his clients.

Media consortium European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) has claimed that no less than €185 million worth of income escaped the attention of tax authorities through the use of shell companies and offshore accounts.

Other clients of Mendes to be investigated in Spain include the former Real defenders Fabio Coentrao and Ricardo Carvalho, Colombian striker Radamel Falcao, now with Monaco but formerly at Atletico Madrid, and Paris Saint Germain’s Angel di Maria, who also spent four years at Real Madrid.

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