Soccer players on the bench ... of the accused

Ronaldo, Messi, Modric ... Many players have been on the bench of the defendants for evading taxes. 

The former Real Madrid player Cristiano Ronaldo, at the exit of the Provincial Court of Madrid.

The former Real Madrid player Cristiano Ronaldo, along with his partner Georgina Rodríguez, at the exit of the Provincial Court of Madrid. EFE / Emilio Naranjo / Archive

LatinAmerican Post | Laura Viviana Guevara Muñoz with EFE information

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Leer en español: Futbolistas en el banquillo... de los acusados

But the problems with the Treasury are only the tip of the iceberg of the stormy relationship between Justice and football, which in recent months has uncovered alleged plots of threats and corruption.

The strikers of Juventus and Barça and the current Golden Ball are part of the football club with millionaire fines behind them; others like Xabi Alonso are awaiting trial, and others like Raúl Bravo and Carlos Aranda, or like Juanma López and Manuel Aguilar, have a long investigation on the horizon. The last of such an illustrious list is a legend of Real Madrid, Raúl González.

Their cases are examples of how the world of football has also had (or will have) to be accountable to Justice. Although the reasons are sometimes very different.

The problems with the Treasury

The list is long and on the cusp are some of the most popular stars on the soccer world: Ronaldo, Messi, Marcelo, Mourinho, Di María, Modric, Carvalho, Piqué, Mascherano, Alexis, and Falcao.

The 'modus operandi' is the same, articulated around corporate structures abroad created to hide the income generated in Spain by image rights.

And the legal answer too. An agreement between the player, the Prosecutor's Office and the Treasury whereby they plead guilty and pay a million to avoid entering prison.

There is a circumstance that the two icons of the last decade were the most reluctant to give up. Messi went to trial accusing his advisors and Cristiano denied everything but then sang the mea culpa, because "we are all the Treasury" goes deep into these causes.

Xabi Alonso is the rare avis. The only one who resists falling and who will go to trial on October 11 with all the consequences, because unlike Messi, whom the Prosecutor's Office did not accuse - the Advocacy did -, Alonso faces five years in jail.

And so, the extensive list of investigations for fraud does not cease. Last July a police operation placed the Doyen Sports investment fund in the center of the target, currently investigated by the National Court. Juanma López, former Atlético player and soccer player representative, and Mariano Aguilar, who played in the red and white club affiliate are two of the main defendants.



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Read also: The 10 most expensive signings of the Premier League

Neymar's signing

A matter that has not ended. The National Court took it in two parts that were sent to Barcelona. The first, for an alleged fraud of 13 million euros in the signing and in which the Brazilian striker was not investigated, resulted in an agreement between the club, the Prosecutor's Office and the Advocacy: Barça admitted two crimes against the Treasury and paid a fine of 5.5 million.

In return, the club president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, and his predecessor, Sandro Rosell (for whom two to seven years in prison were requested) were exonerated.

The "Neymar 2" case, for crimes of corruption and fraud in the signing, is still alive. The Prosecutor's Office asks for 2 years in prison and ten million fine for Neymar, and 5 years for Rosell, the same ones that the private prosecution requests for Bartomeu.



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Rosell's acquittal

He spent almost two years in preventive detention while investigating whether he laundered 20 million euros from the Brazilian Football Confederation and kept at least 6.5. He was acquitted under the principle "in dubio pro reo" (in case of doubt it is ruled in favor of the inmate).



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The rigged

The last blow was Operation Oikos: several technicians and players - active and retired - arrested, including former Real Madrid Raúl Bravo and Carlos Aranda, in an investigation that could affect Luis Rubiales, president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation, for subsidies to Huesca.

Investigated by belonging to a criminal group, corruption in sports and fraud, they are related to alleged threats from parties such as Huesca-Nástic (0-1) last season (which triggered bets 14 times more than normal) and the Valladolid-Valencia (0-2) of this one.

To Oikos are added other operations such as Pizarro, of 2018, with 31 arrested for forcing rigging in Second Division B and Third matches; and Cortés, who followed the previous one, with 21 arrested.

And awaiting trial, in Valencia, is the size of the Levante-Zaragoza in 2011, with 36 accused players, for whom they ask for 2 years in prison and the disqualification of several former directors.



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Libero and Quique Pina's operation

The player representative and former president of several clubs Quique Pina, who is now at the gates of trial for allegedly evading 2.8 million euros, was imprisoned for 17 days; and for the "almost total emptying" of their assets.



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Raúl González business

The Real Madrid icon, current coach of Castilla, is one step away from the bench. He is accused of emptying one of his companies to avoid paying a debt of 7.1 million so that he could face between one and four years in prison for an economic crime of insolvency punishable.



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Eto'o and fatherhood

Changing third, to all the above is added the case of Samuel Eto'o, whose paternity claims an 18-year-old girl, an issue awaiting trial. At the moment, a court has imposed as a precautionary measure the payment of a pension of 1,400 euros per month.



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