Angel Di Maria has been sentenced to one year in prison and fined €2 million after pleading guilty to two counts of tax fraud in Spain.
However, Di Maria, 29, is unlikely to serve the jail sentence since most sentences under two years in Spain are suspended for first-time offenders.
The Paris Saint-Germain playmaker spent four seasons with Real Madrid between 2010–14 and the details of his case have been confirmed by the Spanish tax authorities.
The case relates to the 29-year-old’s image rights in 2012‑13, and he has agreed to repay the frauded amount as well as a 60% fine, a sentence similar to deals struck with the Spanish taxman by his fellow Argentinians Javier Mascherano and Lionel Messi last year.
Messi and his father were given 21-month sentences for three counts of tax fraud but did not go to prison, while Mascherano was given a one-year sentence for tax evasion.
Di Maria’s plea comes in the midst of a concerted attempt by public prosecutors in Spain to target high-earners suspected of tax evasion, with his former coach Jose Mourinho and former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid being the most recent to be implicated, although both have denied any wrongdoing.
Miles Dean, the founding partner of Milestone International Tax Consultants, said: “This is a witch hunt against the wealthy, which is not limited to footballers. This is jealously riding roughshod over the rule of law.”