Soccer coach José Mourinho accepts one-year jail sentence for tax fraud in Spain

The former Real Madrid manager, who will also have to pay a €2-million fine, joins a long list of stars to be accused of fiscal crimes by the Spanish justice system

Soccer manager José Mourinho.
Soccer manager José Mourinho.Samuel Sánchez

Portuguese soccer coach José Mourinho has accepted a one-year prison sentence and a €2-million fine for defrauding the Spanish Tax Agency in 2011 and 2012. Mourinho, who was fired as the manager of English team Manchester United a few weeks ago, appeared at court in Madrid on Tuesday to sign the sentence.

Mourinho’s tax crimes cost the Spanish Tax Agency €1.6 million in 2011 and almost €1.7 million in 2012

According to the agreement with Spanish public prosecutors, the coach created the company Koper Services SA to “financially hide the profits made from his image rights.” Before September 2004, he signed a contract that ceded his image rights to the company, which was located in the Virgin Islands.

In March 2010, Mourinho was hired to manage Spanish team Real Madrid and moved to the Spanish capital. But in the following two years, the coach “did not declare any income from his image rights.” This evasion cost the Tax Agency €1.6 million in 2011 and almost €1.7 million in 2012.

Mourinho has been sentenced to six months in prison for each of the crimes, and must pay a 60% fine on the defrauded amounts: €966,922.56 in 2011 and €1,015,879.83 in 2012. He must also cover legal costs. The one-year-prison sentence has been substituted for a fine of €172,800. (First-time offenders in Spain who are given jail terms of under two years rarely see the inside of a jail cell.)

The trainer joins a long list of stars to be called out as tax dodgers by the Spanish Tax Agency. Two weeks ago, Portuguese soccer legend Cristiano Ronaldo accepted a 23-month jail sentence and €18.8-million fine for tax fraud. Last year, Argentine Barça player Lionel Messi and his father received jail sentences and fines for three tax offenses. Colombian singer Shakira is currently accused of evading €14.5 million in taxes in Spain.

English version by Melissa Kitson.

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