21st July 2024
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Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti accused of alleged tax fraud

Spanish state prosecutors have accused Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti of alleged tax fraud, claiming he used shell companies to conceal portions of his income during his initial tenure at the club around a decade ago.

According to a statement released on Wednesday, prosecutors are accusing Ancelotti of two counts of tax fraud, offences that carry a potential prison sentence of four years and nine months. They assert that the Italian coach evaded €1 million in taxes during 2014 and 2015 by only declaring the income he received from Real Madrid while omitting his income from image rights.

Prosecutors allege that Ancelotti established a complex network of shell companies to obscure his supplementary income. Reportedly, he employed companies with no genuine operations, domiciled outside of Spain, ‘to avoid tax obligations on substantial earnings generated within and beyond our borders’, as stated by prosecutors.

The 64-year-old Ancelotti coached Real Madrid from 2013-15 before rejoining the club in 2021.

Ancelotti is one of football’s most successful coaches. He is the only coach to have won the Champions League four times, twice with Madrid and twice with AC Milan, and the only coach to have won domestic league titles in England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France.

He is the latest in a string of major football profiles to face a crackdown by Spanish authorities over unpaid taxes, although none have actually been sent to prison so far.

Former Madrid coach José Mourinho received a one-year suspended sentence after reaching a guilty plea for tax fraud in 2019. Star players Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – among others – have also been found guilty of tax fraud in Spain. Similar to Ancelotti, Mourinho, Ronaldo and Messi were also accused of using shell companies outside Spain to hide revenue from image rights.

Ronaldo agreed to pay a fine of nearly €19 million in 2019, and was handed a two-year suspended sentence that he didn’t have to serve.

Messi and his father were found guilty of defrauding tax authorities of €4.1 million euros, but also avoided a jail sentence by paying hefty fines.

In Spain a judge can suspend a sentence of less than two years for first-time offenders.

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