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Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa lands €543,000 fine after admitting tax fraud

Costa was accused of failing to declare payments totalling over €5.15m from his move to Chelsea in 2014.

Costa returned to Atletico from Chelsea in 2017.
Costa returned to Atletico from Chelsea in 2017.
Image: Nick Potts

ATLETICO MADRID FORWARD Diego Costa has been ordered to pay a fine of €543,000 after admitting to defrauding Spanish tax authorities of more than €1m, judicial sources said today.

Costa, 31, was sentenced to six months in jail, but instead agreed to pay an additional fine of €36,000 on top of his initial fine to avoid serving time, as is customary in Spain for prison terms of under two years for non-violent crimes.

The Spain international was accused of failing to declare payments totalling over €5.15m from his move to Chelsea in 2014. He also concealed more than €1m in image rights.

Costa last year paid “€1.14m, fully repaying his tax debt, interest included”, which facilitated the deal struck with Spanish prosecutors, a court decision seen by AFP read.

Costa, who rejoined Atletico in 2017, appeared in a Madrid court today, wearing a mask due to the coronavirus pandemic, for a short hearing to finalise the agreement with prosecutors.

Spanish tax authorities have pursued a number of top footballers in recent years, including Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Last year, a Spanish court handed Portugal captain Ronaldo a suspended two-year prison sentence for committing tax fraud when he was at Real Madrid.

The player, who joined Italian side Juventus in 2018, also agreed to pay €18.8m in fines and back taxes to settle the case, according to judicial sources.

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi paid a €2m fine in 2016 in his own tax wrangle and received a 21-month jail term. The prison sentence was later reduced to a further fine of €252,000, equivalent to €400 per day of the original term. 

© – AFP, 2020

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