Jose Mourinho avoids jail after pleading guilty to tax evasion | News | DW | 05.02.2019
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Jose Mourinho avoids jail after pleading guilty to tax evasion

The recently fired Manchester United manager accepted a one-year suspended sentence for tax fraud. Mourinho had pleaded guilty for undeclared income related to his image rights.

Football coach Jose Mourinho pleaded guilty to tax fraud at a Madrid court on Tuesday, accepting a one-year suspended prison sentence for defrauding the Spanish state of €3.3 million ($3.8 million). 

Mourinho, 56, will not serve any time behind bars, agreeing to exchange the prison sentence with a daily fine of €250 for 24 months — equivalent to €182,000. He will also have to pay a fine of €1.9 million, or 60 percent of the defrauded sum, as well as €12,764 in interest as part of the plea deal.

Under Spanish law, jail terms under two years can be served under probation.

The Portuguese coach, who spent three seasons with Real Madrid between 2010 and 2013, was accused of failing to declare income of €1.6 million in 2011 and €1.7 million in 2012. The income is related to his image rights, which he leased to companies based in the British Virgin Islands and Ireland in 2004. 

He appeared before a judge in 2017 denying any wrongdoing, saying he paid everything he owed to Spanish tax authorities from his time at Real Madrid. 

Mourinho is one of the most successful football coaches in Europe, winning titles in Portugal, England, Italy and Spain. He was fired by Manchester United in December after spending two and a half seasons with the club.

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Mourinho sacked by Manchester United

His guilty plea comes two weeks after Cristiano Ronaldo, who played under Mourinho at Real Madrid, pleaded guilty to tax fraud in Spain. Ronaldo, who currently plays for Juventus in Italy, had received a two-year suspended sentence and was ordered to pay nearly €19 million to Spanish authorities. 

Several other prominent soccer players have come under investigation by Spanish tax authorities in recent years, including five-time FIFA Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi and 2018 World Cup Golden Ball and FIFA Ballon d'Or winner Luka Modric.

Messi, along with his father, was found guilty in Spain three years ago on three counts of defrauding tax authorities of €4.1 million (then $4.6 million) on income made from image rights. His sentence was reduced to a fine in 2017.

dv/aw (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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