Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi had already had problems with the tax authorities and the justice system across the Pyrenees. Samuel Eto’o’s turn. The former La Liga star striker has reached an agreement with the Spanish public prosecutor’s office, which was prosecuting him for tax evasion, in order to avoid going to prison. The Barcelona court, where the former Cameroonian international played between 2004 and 2009 (including three championships and two Champions Leagues), made this announcement on Monday.
Eto’o (41) was fined and sentenced to twenty-two months in prison but will not be imprisoned, as required by Spanish law, as this sentence is less than two years and he is not have no criminal record in Spain. The amount of the fine that the player will have to pay has not been communicated by the court but it amounts to around 1.8 million euros, according to the Spanish press.
3.9 million euros defrauded to be reimbursed
Samuel Eto’o and José Maria Mesalles – his ex-representative who was sentenced for his part to 12 months in prison and a fine – will also have to reimburse the Spanish tax authorities for the sum defrauded, i.e. nearly 3.9 million euros. euros. The prosecution was prosecuting the former African football star, who became president of the Cameroonian Federation at the end of 2021, for four offenses against the tax authorities dating back to the years 2006-2009.
The prosecution assured that the player had set up an assembly of companies in order to avoid declaring part of his income. According to him, Eto’o had transferred his image rights to a company based in Hungary which declared its earnings in this country, where the tax rate is one of the “lowest in Europe”.
A second company, a Spanish one, declared them in Spain, but these gains were taxed under corporation tax, lower than the income tax that should have been paid. But the Cameroonian “was the real holder of the image rights”, said the prosecution, according to whom this transfer was fraudulent and only intended to pay less tax.