Football star receives six-month sentence plus fine for tax fraud

by Abdulmumeen S. Yitta
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Diego Costa, former Chelsea and Atletico Madrid striker, has been handed six-month prison sentence with a fine of €543,208 (£485,324) for tax fraud.

The striker was given the sentence and fine for defrauding the state of more than €1m (£813,000) as he failed to declare over €5.15m (£4.19m) payment from his transfer from Atletico to Chelsea in the United Kingdom in 2014.

As customary under Spanish law, Costa would not serve his term behind bar as the law allows non-violent crimes less than two years to be exchanged for a fine.

Costa who appeared in court wearing a face mask agreed to pay fine of €36,500 in addition to his initial fine for him to avoid serving the jail time.

While referring to the agreement and settlement of the fine by Costa, the Atletico spokesperson said, “Diego Costa reached an agreement a few months ago with the prosecutor and has already paid the corresponding fine plus interest and the request for a prison sentence was withdrawn.”

Costa is the latest football star to be convicted of tax evasion by the Spanish authority joining a few other football stars like Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Luka Modric and Javier Mascherano who have also breached the tax law in the recent past.

Barcelona star Lionel Messi in 2017 defrauded Spain of €4.1m between 2007 and 2009 and was fined €252,000.

Similarly, Cristiano Ronaldo was in January 2019 handed €18.8m fine for tax avoidance after he had an agreement with a court in Madrid.

Costa as a striker in 2011 became prominent goal scorer and helped Atletico win a La Liga title, a Copa del Rey title, and a UEFA Super Cup.

He transferred to Chelsea in 2014 for €35 million (£31,465) and has since then played crucial roles in most of Chelsea’s wins.

In 2016/17, he played vital roles in Chelsea’s winning the Premier League title and scored 52 goals for Chelsea in 89 games.

He won two Premier League titles and a League Cup at the Stamford Bridge.

He has also in the recent time won a UEFA Europa League title and another UEFA Super Cup
Costa returned to Atletico in 2018 in a club-record transfer that was worth €56 million (£50,309).

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