Mourinho accepts guilty plea for tax fraud in Spain

Two-time Stanley Cup winner Pavel Datsyuk of SKA St. Petersburg, right, and Yevgeni Medvedev of Avangard Omsk help former Manchester United coach Jose Mourinho, center, to get up after falling down making the first puck drop at Monday's Kontinental Hockey League game between Avangard Omsk and SKA St. Petersburg in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Feb. 4, 2019. Former Manchester United coach has ceremonially opened an ice hockey game in Russia _ and promptly fallen on the ice. (AP Photo/Dmitry Golubovich)

MADRID — Former Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho received a one-year suspended sentence after reaching a guilty plea for tax fraud in Spain on Tuesday.

Mourinho will not have to serve time after admitting he defrauded Spanish authorities in 2011 and 2012. Sentences for two years or less for first-time offenders can be suspended in Spain.

Mourinho appeared before a judge in a Madrid court to confirm the plea agreement he had reached with prosecutors. As part of the deal, he also has to pay a fine of nearly 2 million euros ($2.2 million).

Mourinho was accused of defrauding Spanish tax authorities of 3.3 million euros ($3.7 million) in unpaid taxes. The money involved revenues from image rights, not salary paid by Real Madrid. He had already paid part of what he owed last year.

The 56-year-old Portuguese coach, recently fired by Manchester United, was in charge of Real Madrid from 2010-13.

Mourinho's plea deal comes two weeks after former Real Madrid player Cristiano Ronaldo pleaded guilty to tax fraud from the time he played in Spain. The Portugal forward received a two-year suspended sentence and was ordered to pay nearly 19 million euros ($21.7 million) to Spanish authorities.

Mourinho had appeared before a judge in 2017 and denied any wrongdoing, saying he had paid everything he owed to Spanish tax authorities from the time he coached Real Madrid. He said he left the country in 2013 with the "information and the conviction" that he was up to date with his tax obligations.

Gestifute, the agency that represents Ronaldo and Mourinho, released a statement at the time saying the coach paid "more than 26 million euros (then $30.3 million) in taxes, with an average tax rate over 41 percent."

Several other soccer figures have been subjected to investigations from tax authorities in Spain in recent years, including Lionel Messi, Javier Mascherano, Marcelo, Luka Modric, Alexis Sanchez, Ricardo Carvalho, Angel Di Maria, Radamel Falcao, Fabio Coentrao and Xabi Alonso.

Messi was found guilty three years ago, along with his father, on three counts of defrauding tax authorities of 4.1 million euros (then $4.6 million) on income made from image rights.

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