Mourinho faces tax probe call over Sunday Times claims
4 December 2016
- From the section UK
The tax affairs of football manager Jose Mourinho should be investigated by British officials following allegations he used off-shore companies to reduce his tax bill, a UK MP has said.
Mourinho is accused of moving millions of pounds of earnings to the British Virgin Islands to avoid paying tax.
The Manchester United manager’s agent said the allegations were “unfounded”.
Public accounts committee chairwoman Meg Hillier said UK authorities had to take a “close look” at the claims.
Further claims about the tax affairs of Mourinho – as well as other top international football stars – have been made in the Sunday Times and other European newspapers.
The publications acquired leaked documents from the website Football Leaks, following a cyber attack on football agents earlier this year.
Mourinho has been accused of using “a complex web of off-shore companies” to avoid paying tax in the UK and Spain.
The allegations surround his time as manager of UK side Chelsea, between 2004 and 2007, and Spanish club Real Madrid, between 2010 and 2013.
According to the reports, Portuguese-born Mourinho, 53, has reportedly placed £10m (€12m) into a Swiss account owned by a British Virgin Islands firm.
The newspaper claims Mourinho and his advisers deducted substantial costs for a BVI company – which it suggests has no employees.
The Sunday Times says Mourinho – as well as Real Madrid star Christiano Ronaldo – also used banks accounts and companies in Ireland, Switzerland and New Zealand to process substantial earnings for their image rights.
However, Jorge Mendes – the agent for both Mourinho and ex-Manchester United star Ronaldo – denies the claim.
He says both men were fully compliant with UK and Spanish tax rules.
The statement added that the allegations stemmed from a cyber attack earlier this year on some sports agents, details of which were prohibited by a Spanish court from being published.
However, Ms Hillier told the BBC that HMRC should investigate the allegations.
The head of HMRC will appear before the committee – which is responsible for overseeing government expenditure – on Wednesday, when the issue will be raised with officials, Mrs Hillier added.
The Labour MP said: “I think it is really important that the tax authorities take a really close look at what’s gone on and we will be raising this with them on Wednesday.”
She said the allegations will be “galling” for football fans who buy season tickets and spend a lot of their disposable income on watching games.
“On Wednesday, we are already examining HMRC on how they deal with high net-worth individuals and it is clear that there are issues there about the resource they have got and how they go about dealing with people with very large amounts of wealth,” she said.
The allegations surrounding Mourinho and Ronaldo are based on two terabytes of leaked information which allegedly includes original contracts.
The claims were published by an international consortium of journalists – including German newspaper Der Spiegel, Spain’s El Mundo and the UK’s Sunday Times – which obtained a trove of about 18m documents.
Other top players were named in the documents.
The consortium says it intends to publish a series of articles under the banner “Football Leaks” over the next few weeks.
It comes eight months after the so-called Panama Papers lifted the lid on how the world’s rich and powerful use tax havens to hide their wealth.
The leaked documents are said to relate to the time that Mourinho spent as manager of Real Madrid, between 2010 and 2013, according to El Mundo.
The club, Ronaldo’s current employer, did not respond to requests from news agencies for comment.
Manchester United said the allegations related to events before Mourinho’s arrival at the club and so it would not comment.
One of the papers in the consortium, the Dutch NRC, alleges that Ronaldo moved €63.5m (£53.1m, $67.7m) to the British Virgin Islands at the end of 2014.
The paper says the striker received sponsorship fees which were moved via two Irish companies to the tax haven, 11 days before Spain changed an advantageous tax law.
According to the reports, Friday’s first batch of leaks centred on “a system” put in place by Mr Mendes, whose company has denied any wrongdoing.
His company, Gestifute, said in a statement that neither Ronaldo nor Mourinho “have been implicated in legal proceedings of the tax evasion commission in Spain”.
The company accused the media consortium of operating in an “insidious” way concerning the stars’ tax obligations.
This post was written by FSB News