Spain: Ricardo Carvalho given prison sentence for tax fraud

By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw

The former Chelsea and Real Madrid defender, Ricardo Carvalho, is the latest high-profile footballer to fall foul of the Spanish Tax Authorities.

On 6 October, he was given a seven-month prison sentence and fined €142,882 for hiding income from his image rights in 2011 and 2012, which was channelled through Companies in the British Virgin Islands and the Republic of Ireland, whilst playing for Real Madrid in Spain.

He admitted the offence and has paid back the unpaid tax of €545,981.

As a result, the Madrid Provincial Court handed down a more lenient sentence and fine than the one of 12 months’ imprisonment and the fine of €300,000 that had been demanded by the Spanish Tax Authorities. Carvalho will not actually go to jail, as his sentence is less than 24 months and is for a first, non-violent offence and is, therefore, ‘suspended’ under Spanish Criminal Law practice.

Carvalho, who is 39, now plays for Shanghai SIPG in the Chinese Super League.

It is interesting to note that, at the time of these offences, Carvalho was playing under Jose Mourinho, who is also accused of tax fraud during his time as manager of Real Madrid. He is due to appear in Court in Madrid on 3 November in relation to an alleged €3.3 million tax fraud relating to undeclared income earned on the commercial exploitation of his image rights, between 2010 and 2013, whilst he was in charge of Real Madrid. See earlier GSLTR post of 22 June.

Cristiano Ronaldo is also accused by the Spanish Tax Authorities of a 14.7 million tax fraud in relation to his image rights and made a first appearance in a Madrid Court in July, in which he denied any wrongdoing. See earlier GSLTR post of 13 June.

Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw may be contacted by e-mail at ‘ian.blackshaw@range.fr’