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    FIFA Ballon d'Or nominee Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal and Real Madrid attends a press conference prior to the FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala 2014 at the Kongresshaus on January 12, 2015 in Zurich, Switzerland

    Football Elite Suspected of Dodging Taxes, Hiding Millions in Offshore Firms

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    World football’s legends are suspected of being involved in money laundering and tax evasion schemes, including hiding millions of euros in tax havens, EU media claimed Saturday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) Earlier in the day, Germany’s magazine Der Spiegel started publishing revelations it made after studying 1.9 terabytes of data on sports stars obtained from a whistleblower organization called Football Leaks seven months ago.

    The leak, said to be the largest in sport history, implicated Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho, Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo and Arsenal player Mesut Ozil in siphoning hundreds of millions in unpaid taxes off to Switzerland, Ireland and the British Virgin Islands.

    Der Spiegel said it sorted through 18.6 million of documents, including emails and football players’ original contracts, with the help of 60 journalists from the European Investigative Collaborations (EIC). It said more revelations about corruption in the sport would be made in coming weeks.

    The agency of Jorge Mendes, who represents Mourinho and Ronaldo, denied the accusations in a statement and accused the media of disseminating distorted data that were stolen from firms connected to the world of sports in a massive cyberattack last March.

    "Both Cristiano Ronaldo and Jose Mourinho are fully compliant with their tax obligations with the Spanish and British tax authorities," the Portuguese consulting company Gestifute wrote.

    Gestifute, which represents the world’s football elite, confirmed it had been contacted by various outlets over the alleged tax evasions by its clients but said the tone of those inquiries was "insidious" and vowed to sue anyone who tried to taint the good name of Ronaldo or Mourinho.

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    Tags:
    offshore, whistleblower, taxes, football
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