Modric latest Real star accused of tax fraud

Reuters
Prosecutors believe the Croatian, whose wife Vadja is also cited in the charge, evaded 870,728 euros (US$1.03 million) in 2013 and 2014 via a shell company set up in Luxembourg.
Reuters

Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric became the latest football star in Spain accused by prosecutors of committing tax fraud on revenue from his image rights, a court filing revealed on Wednesday.

Prosecutors believe the Croatian, whose wife Vadja is also cited in the accusation, evaded 870,728 euros (US$1.03 million) in 2013 and 2014 via a shell company set up in Luxembourg.

However, that figure could rise once details of financial holdings belonging to the player in the Isle of Man are revealed to Spanish authorities.

Modric, 32, joined Real from Tottenham Hotspur for a reported fee of 30 million pounds (US$40 million) in 2012.

He is just the latest in a series of star players based in Spain to be accused of tax fraud on income related to image rights in the past few years.

On Tuesday, Real left-back Marcelo admitted to a 490,917-euro tax fraud via his image rights in 2013.

As part of Marcelo's agreement with the authorities, the Brazilian is expected to be handed a four-month suspended sentence and a fine worth 40 percent of the defrauded amount.

Real's all-time leading scorer Cristiano Ronaldo appeared in court in July over accusations he evaded 14.7 million euros worth of tax between 2011 and 2014.

Barcelona duo Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano received 21-month and one-year suspended sentences, respectively, after being found guilty of tax fraud over their image rights in 2016.

However, five-time World Player of the Year Messi's sentence was later replaced by a 252,000-euro fine.

AFP

Real Madrid defender Marcelo (right) and Malaga midfielder Keko Gontan vie for the ball during their Spanish league match at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on November 25, 2017. Marcelo has admitted to a 490,917-euro tax fraud via his image rights in 2013.

On the field on Tuesday, Real forward Gareth Bale returned from injury in style by coming on to create two goals for Borja Mayoral in a 2-2 second-leg draw with third-tier Fuenlabrada as its second-string side took the team into the Copa del Rey last 16.

Real won 4-2 on aggregate and Bale's cameo performance was one of few bright spots on a nervy evening for the hosts at the Santiago Bernabeu during which the Liga and European champion was in serious danger of being forced to play extra time.

Wales international Bale brought badly needed quality to Zinedine Zidane's struggling side with a substitute appearance after 63 days out with injuries and had an instant impact.

With Real behind on the night after conceding an early goal, Bale picked up the ball after coming on to a smattering of applause and curled over a cross for Mayoral to head an equalizer in the 63rd minute which effectively ended the tie.

Bale also made Real's second goal, skipping into the area to force goalkeeper Pol Freixanet to parry and Mayoral picked up the loose ball to score again and put Real in front.

Fuenlabrada kept fighting, and substitute Alvaro Portilla salvaged a draw in the 89th, punishing some chaotic defending.

The visiting minnows from the suburbs of the Spanish capital had taken a surprise yet deserved lead through midfielder Luis Milla in the 25th with a stinging long-range shot which flummoxed home goalkeeper Keylor Navas.

Zidane again fielded a largely reserve team as he did in the 2-0 first-leg win but they were more than matched by Fuenlabrada, whose defender Cata Diaz had almost leveled the tie when his header hit the bar in the second half.


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