Di Maria agrees to deal in Spain over tax fraud
ABS-CBN Sports on Jun 22, 2017 09:46 AM
Basel's Taulant Xhaka, left, challenges for the ball with PSG's Angel Di Maria during the Champions League group A soccer match between Paris Saint Germain and Basel at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
By Joseph Wilson, Associated Press
Angel Di Maria agreed to a deal with Spain's state prosecutor on Wednesday in which the former Real Madrid forward admitted to two counts of tax fraud of almost 1.3 million euros ($1.4 million) in exchange for a lighter sentence.
In a document reviewed by The Associated Press, Di Maria's lawyer accepted the two counts, which relate to fraud committed in 2012 and 2013. The prosecutor recommended a sentence of 16 months and a fine of nearly 800,000 euros ($890,000).
Di Maria, who currently plays for French club Paris Saint-Germain, will likely not serve any prison time because sentences of less than two years for first-time offenders are usually suspended in Spain.
The deal will have to be ratified by a judge when the case goes to court.
The case involves income the Argentina forward made from image rights, not from his salary paid by Real Madrid.
The document formalizing the deal between the parties said that Di Maria used a company in Panama to avoid tax.
In March, a day after being summoned to answer a judge's questions regarding the fraud investigation, Di Maria paid 1.45 million euros ($1.6 million) to Spain's Tax Office.
Di Maria, 29, played for Real Madrid from 2010-2014 before a move to Manchester United prior to joining PSG.
The state prosecutor's office in Madrid has intensified its pursuit of alleged tax fraud in football. It has accused Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo and former Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho of tax fraud worth several millions of euros in the last two weeks, with both men denying any wrongdoing.
On Tuesday, Ronaldo was told to appear before a judge for questioning on July 31.
Also, last month former Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao and Real Madrid defender Fabio Coentrao were accused by the prosecutor's office of not paying all their taxes.
Di Maria's deal is similar to the one struck by Barcelona defender Javier Mascherano, who was convicted of tax fraud last year and given a suspended one-year sentence.
Also last year, Barcelona star Lionel Messi and father Jorge Horacio Messi were found guilty of tax fraud and given 21-month sentences, which will likely be suspended.
All the cases involve income from image rights on endorsement side deals made by players, not salaries paid by clubs.