The Supreme Court has confirmed the acquittal of former footballer and current Bayer Leverkusen coach, Xabi Alonso, in the case where he was accused of defrauding the tax authorities of nearly 2 million euros between 2010 and 2012.
The Criminal Chamber has rejected the appeal by the State Attorney against the ruling of the Madrid High Court, which this summer upheld the second acquittal of the player from San Sebastian and two of his tax advisors for a crime against the Public Treasury.
What happened with Xabi Alonso?
The facts revolve around the contract of August 1, 2009, in which Xabi Alonso assigned the exploitation of his image rights to the company Kardzali, based on the Portuguese island of Madeira.
According to the State Attorney, this was a simulated legal transaction, conceived as a strategy to defraud the Spanish tax authorities, thus hiding the correct taxation of the income associated with the player’s image rights.
The Supreme Court distinguishes this process from others involving professional footballers who were convicted by the Barcelona Court of Appeal, and in some of those cases, the Supreme Court upheld the conviction, explaining that they are not comparable, since those were convicted in the first instance and Alonso was acquitted.
The Supreme Court recalls the limits derived from the cassation appeal as a procedural instrument to turn an acquittal into a conviction and, in fact, states that there are evidentiary inferences that may be susceptible to an alternative judgment.
However, the rejection by the Madrid Court of Appeal, which has led to the denial that the contract signed by Alonso in favor of Kardzali was tainted by any kind of simulation and, in particular, the denial by the Madrid High Court of intent as an intellectual element reinforcing other operations covered by the factum, “close any possibility of review by this Chamber that could overturn the acquittal ruling.”
The ruling also explains that “when the tax return submitted by the taxpayer reveals in its entirety the profits obtained in any economic activity and offers the tax authorities a taxation route that the inspection services consider incorrect, this interpretive disagreement regarding not the ‘what’, but the ‘how much’, cannot become the origin of a criminal process.”
Likewise, the judges respond to the State Attorney by pointing out that “no anomaly can be detected in the fact that the Court attributes greater credibility to the expertise offered by the defense, as opposed to what has been called official expertise.”
“Moreover, it should be considered a symptom – unfortunately infrequent – of proximity to the principles of contradiction and the right of defense, which act as true legitimizing sources of the criminal process,” they add.