Xabi Alonso denies allegations of tax fraud amid reports of Spanish investigation

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Madrid (AFP) – Bayern Munich midfielder Xabi Alonso has categorically denied any wrongdoing after a report from Spanish daily El Mundo claimed he is being investigated for defrauding the Spanish tax authorities. Alonso is alleged to have failed to declare revenue from his image rights by ceding those rights to companies outside of Spain in tax havens or states with lower tax rates between 2010 and 2012.

“It is absolutely clear that he has always complied with all of his tax obligations,” said a statement published on Alonso’s official Twitter account.

“Clearly, the player will utilize all the means he thinks right to demonstrate his tax obligations have been scrupulously complied with in a transparent manner and always adhering to the law in force.”

El Mundo added that the public prosecution service has up to six months to investigate the claim before deciding whether to carry the case forward.

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Alonso, who joined Bayern from Real Madrid last year, was a hero of Spain’s World Cup triumph in 2010 and European Championship victories in 2008 and 2012. However, he is just the latest high-profile player to be scrutinized by the tax authorities over the declaration of money made through image rights. Four-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi appeared before a judge in 2013 after he and his father were accused of defrauding the public purse of 4.16 million euros ($4.7 million, £3 million) after his image rights were ceded to companies in Belize and Uruguay. Spanish daily El Pais reported last week that Messi’s Barcelona teammate Javier Mascherano is also under investigation for 1.5 million euros of undeclared income via his image rights since joining the Catalan giants.

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