Manchester United manager José Mourinho has denied a claim by Spanish prosecutors that he defrauded €3.3 million (£2.9 million) in tax while manager of Real Madrid.
The claim, which dates to a period between 2011 and 2012, alleges that money due from the use of his image rights were steered into ‘corporate structures [which] were used by the accused in order to conceal revenues.’
The case will now go before a judge for a decision whether it will be brought to trial.
A spokesperson for Mourinho’s current employer said: 'José Mourinho has not received any notification with regards to the news published today.
‘To this date, neither the Spanish tax authorities, nor the public prosecutor have contacted José Mourinho or his advisers who were hired for the inspection process.
‘José Mourinho, who lived in Spain from June 2010 until May 2013, paid more than €26 million in taxes, with an average tax rate over 41%, 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 in turn, through the tax department, issued a certificate in which it attested that he had regularised his position and was in compliance with all his tax obligations.’
The case has similarities to a parallel trial of Real Madrid player Cristiano Ronaldo who is due to appear in court next month to face claims he defrauded Spanish tax authorities by steering €28.4 million in undeclared income from his image rights via a Virgin Islands shell company.
Prosecutors allege the star player failed to pay €14.8 million in tax due between 2011 and 2014 and ‘intentionally’ misled authorities by declaring €11.5 million in taxable earnings versus a real figure of $43 million.
Founding partner at law firm Milestone International Tax Consultants Miles Dean said the case was likely to hinge on when income rights were assigned to the company, which he said was likely to have occurred before Mourinho, who previously managed Chelsea and Inter Milan, took a job in Spain.
‘When structuring image rights for sportspersons and entertainers, timing is everything,’ he said.
‘It is possible to structure an image rights deal worth considerable sums if the individual is in the right place at the right time. In this case, it may transpire that Mourinho’s BVI company has been paid from the wrong place at the wrong time.’