Manchester United’s Alexis Sanchez has received a 16-month suspended sentence for failing to pay his taxes in Spain while he was a player for Barcelona between 2012 and 2013.
According to the investigation, the Chilean winger failed to pay close to one million Euros in taxes during this time period.
As reported by ESPN, Sanchez “was found guilty of two counts of fraud and admitted concealing his image rights income from the Spanish tax office via companies based overseas,” particularly one set up in Malta.
Malta Company Used by Alexis Sanchez to Avoid Taxes
Malta Today’s Matthew Vella explains that the Chilean winger “set up a Maltese company called Numidia Trading in a tax avoidance scheme to stop paying on his image rights deals between 2012 and 2013.”
He reports that Sanchez “is the 99% shareholder in the Maltese company Numidia Trading, the other 1% held by the Amicorp financial services firm, based in Ta’ Xbiex,” with the firm’s financial statement for 2013 “[showing] Sanchez booked a total of €1.1 million in profits in his Malta tax-registered firm.”
Vella goes on to explain that Spain’s tax agency “accuses Sanchez of ‘simulating’ the transfer of his image rights to a company described as a ‘purely instrumental entity’ used to facilitate ‘fraud committed against the Spanish Treasury.’”
As a result, the Chilean footballer was slammed with a 16-month suspended sentence as a first-time offender and was forced to pay the Spanish tax authorities the amount owed plus interest and approximately 600 thousand Euros in fines.
A spokesperson for the Spanish tax authority refrained from commenting on Sanchez’s case but did say that it applies “the same criteria and measures for each tax payer.”
Are Spanish Tax Authorities Targeting Footballers?
Alexis Sanchez’s agent, Fernando Felicevich, believes the Chilean star is part of a massive witch hunt carried out by Spanish tax officials, who during the past couple of years have gone after other footballing stars like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Javier Mascherano, among others.
In a press release following the decision, Felicevich said, “the alleged crimes committed are forms of contracting that have been used for a long time and by countless players, in agreement and coordination with the most prestigious clubs in Spain and using a legitimate tax form, tacit and expressly admitted by the Treasury in Spain in the past.”
Furthermore, he points out that “the prosecution has chosen at its sole discretion which players to accuse, of course almost all foreigners, and exert threats and public pressure through the media to force players and coaches to accept agreements that are completely unfair.”
In light of this, Felicevich adds, “despite having shown that Alexis has not committed any crime, we have been obliged, on the recommendation of our advisers, to accept the unfair pact offered.”
“Seeing the nightmare companions like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo etc have been through, we have reached the conclusion that it is better to accept an unfair settlement so we can move on and not continue to be subjected to media and political pressures,” he concludes.
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