Monday, October 26, 2020

Football: Diego Costa to pay 1.7 million euros to settle Spain tax fraud case

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Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa has agreed to pay 1.7 million euros ($1.9 million) to Spain’s tax agency which was investigating him for non-payment of taxes on image rights, a Spanish newspaper reported Tuesday.

The agency said the 30-year-old hid income earned in 2014 from a sponsorship deal signed with Adidas shortly before he joined Chelsea from Atletico that year. Costa, who has both Brazilian and Spanish citizenship, returned to Atletico in 2018.

Under a deal with Spain’s tax office, Costa will plead guilty to tax evasion and pay 1.1 million euros in back taxes, daily newspaper El Mundo, reported.

He will also be sentenced to six months in jail but will not serve time and instead pay a fine of 600,000 euros, the paper said. The agreement will be made official at a Madrid court on October 4, El Mundo reported.

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Contacted by AFP, a spokesman for the tax office, said he could not comment on individual tax files.

Costa is the latest famous footballers to have fallen foul of Spain’s tax authorities.

Related: Swiss indict former German football officials on Fraud Charges over World Cup payment

A Spanish court in January handed Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo a suspended two-year prison sentence for committing tax fraud when he was at Real Madrid.

The player, who joined Italian side Juventus last year, also agreed to pay 18.8 million euros in fines and back taxes to settle the case, according to judicial sources.

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Barcelona’s Lionel Messi paid a two-million-euro fine in 2016 in his own tax wrangle and received a 21-month jail term.

The prison sentence was later reduced to a further fine of 252,000 euros, equivalent to 400 euros per day of the original term.

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