Ronaldo appears before judge in tax fraud investigation

Cristiano Ronaldo appeared before a Spanish judge Monday as part of an investigation to determine whether the Portugal forward committed tax fraud.

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.

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.

The prosecutor alleged that Ronaldo used what was deemed a shell company in the Virgin Islands to “create a screen in order to hide his total income from Spain’s Tax Office.”

The prosecutor accused Ronaldo of declaring 11.5 million euros ($12.8 million) earned from 2011-14 in a tax return filed in 2014, when the prosecutor said Ronaldo’s real income during that period was almost 43 million euros ($48 million). It added that Ronaldo falsely claimed the income as coming from real…

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