Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has been quoted as saying a Spanish tax fraud case against him relating to his time in while charge of Real Madrid is closed.
The former Inter Milan manager arrived at court room No 4 in Pozuelo de Alarcon just outside of Madrid at about 9.33am local time today for his 10am appearance after which he emerged to say he had paid a fee to settle the accusations.
He had been accused of owing nearly €3.3m (£2.9m, $3.8m) in undeclared image rights revenue.
The hearing came two days before the crucial game between Manchester United and Chelsea thereby disrupting Mourinho’s plan for the game having to appear in court for the quick hearing.
The Spanish authorities began the image rights case against Jose Mourinho in June.
Mourinho was believed to understand that his affairs were in order when he returned to England in 2013. Jorge Mendes’s Gestifute agency, that represents Mourinho issued a statement earlier this year which reads
‘Jose Mourinho paid more than €26 million in taxes, with an average tax rate over 41 percent, and accepted the regularisation proposals made by the Spanish tax authorities in 2015 regarding the years of 2011 and 2012 and entered into a settlement agreement regarding 2013.
‘The Spanish Government issued a certificate in which it attested that he had regularised his position and was in compliance with all his tax obligations.’
But the authorities reopened his case and after the hearing on Friday, Mourinho wasa quoted as saying
‘When I left Spain in 2013 I understood my situation was all in order. Two years later they got back in touch with me and I was informed that an investigation had been opened and I was told that in order to regularise my situation I had to pay X amount of money, I did not answer, I did not argue. I paid and signed with the state that I am in compliance and the case is closed.”
Mourinho was accused of failing to declare income of €1.6 million in 2011 and €1.7 million in 2012 by receiving earnings from images rights into a web of offshore companies based in tax havens established to keep them from the attention of the Spanish tax man.
The practice is widespread and was once overlooked by authorities in Spain but when an investigation suggested Spain was missing out on up to €190m of tax there was a crack down on players and coaches.
Other players represented by the Portuguese agent Mendes have been through the same process as Mourinho. Former Real defenders Fabio Coentrao and Ricardo Carvalho, Colombian striker Radamel Falcao and Paris Saint Germain’s Angel di Maria, all had to pay money back.
Argentines Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria Javier and Mascherano have also all been punished for tax evasion while a case against Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid is ongoing.
In July, Cristiano Ronaldo appeared to give evidence at the same Madrid court as Mourinho, after being accused of evading €14.7 million of tax between year 2011 to 2014. He hasn’t shown any sign of reaching a similarly amicable agreement with the authorities like Mourinho just did and are currently deciding if his case will go to trial cos he denies any wrongdoing.