Calls for probe into Jose Mourinho ‘tax haven’.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho and Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo on Saturday denied hiding millions of euros in offshore accounts in a effort to avoid the tax man.
An MP has called for an investigation into Mourinho’s financial affairs following claims he moved millions of pounds offshore in order to avoid paying tax.
It is alleged the United manager’s advisers may have helped him move large sums of money to Switzerland and the British Virgin Islands to avoid paying tax on earnings from the use of his image rights for product endorsement – something which has been strongly denied.
Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo is another high profile name in football who is accused of having allegedly moved money to a “tax haven”.
The claims emerged in a data leak of over 18 million documents, investigated for the past several months by a group of pan-European media organisations.
Football agency Gestifute, which represents the two Portuguese stars, has strenuously denied suggestions its clients may have taken part in a tax avoidance scheme involving millions of pounds.
In a statement, it said: “Both Cristiano Ronaldo and Jose Mourinho are fully compliant with their tax obligations with the Spanish and British tax authorities.
“Neither Cristiano Ronaldo nor Jose Mourinho have ever been involved in legal proceedings regarding the commission of a tax offence.
“Any insinuation or accusation made to Cristiano Ronaldo or Jose Mourinho over the commission of a tax offence will be reported to the legal authorities and prosecuted.”
But MP Meg Hillier, chairman of the Commons public accounts committee, called on tax authorities to investigate the claims.
“These revelations are extraordinary and warrant a close examination by the UK tax authorities,” she said.
An HMRC spokesman said: “HMRC carefully scrutinises the arrangements between football clubs and their employees in respect of any image right payments to make sure the right tax is paid – in recent years we have identified more than £80m in additional tax payable from clubs, players and agents.
“We take seriously allegations that customers or their agents may have acted dishonestly in the course of an inquiry, and can reopen closed cases if we suspect this has happened.”
A source at HMRC said it would seek evidence to determine whether to begin an investigation
The European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) consortium, consisting of journalists from the UK’s Sunday Times, Germany’s Der Spiegel, Spain’s El Mundo, and the Netherlands’ NRC, said it will release further revelations in the coming weeks under the banner ‘Football Leaks’.
It said the new information will give “an unprecedented look into the gloomy depths of the modern football industry”.