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Cristiano Ronaldo pleads guilty to tax fraud at Madrid court

Cristiano Ronaldo pleads guilty to tax fraud at Madrid court
Cristiano Ronaldo leaves with girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez after attending a court hearing for tax evasion in Madrid on Jan. 22. (Pierre-Philippe Marcou / AFP / Getty Images)

Cristiano Ronaldo smiled broadly after leaving court Tuesday despite the unwanted trip back to Madrid to plead guilty to tax fraud.

The Juventus forward, who was facing charges stemming from his days at Real Madrid, spent about 45 minutes in court to sign an agreement which cost him nearly $21.6 million in fines. He was also given a two-year suspended sentence.

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Ronaldo will not have to serve time in prison because judges in Spain can suspend sentences for two years or less for first-time offenders.

Ronaldo arrived in a black van and was wearing sunglasses, a black sport coat, black pants and white tennis shoes. He stopped to sign an autograph before walking up some stairs leading to the courthouse. He was accompanied by his lawyers and his partner, Georgina Rodriguez. Police officers escorted him.

A few hundred journalists waited outside but the Portuguese player did not stop to talk.

The court had dismissed Ronaldo's request to enter the building directly from the parking lot, which would have allowed him to avoid the media. The request was made for security reasons, but the court said it didn't think the measure was needed despite the player's notoriety.

Court officials said Ronaldo didn't make any comments while in the courtroom to sign the agreement.

Smiling on his way out of the courthouse, he again stopped to sign autographs for a few fans who were wedged among the journalists.

Ronaldo made the deal to plead guilty with Spain's state prosecutor and tax authorities last year.

In 2017, a state prosecutor accused Ronaldo of four counts of tax fraud from 2011-14 worth $16.7 million. Ronaldo was accused of having used shell companies outside Spain to hide income made from image rights.

The accusations didn't involve his salary from Real Madrid, his club from 2009 until joining Italian champion Juventus last year.

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