Xabi Alonso is definitely enemy number 1 of the State Bar. The legal department of the Tax Agency has appealed for the fourth time his acquittal, last July, this time before the Supreme Court. The prosecution, which initially had not joined this appeal, has joined after a meeting of the board of courtroom prosecutors of the Supreme Court held on December 14, as EL PERIÓDICO DE ESPAÑA, a newspaper belonging to the same publishing group as this medium, has learned.
There will be no peace for Xabi Alonso. The soccer player He has seen his case closed on four occasions and on as many occasions the State attorney has appealed and, although with less eagerness, the prosecution. The case has given ups and downs and the best thing is to go by order.
At the end of 2015, the Madrid economic crimes prosecutor’s office received a complaint against Xabi Alonso, then a Real Madrid footballer, for using a company in Madeira where he collected his image rights. The Madrid prosecutor’s office, which was then directed by Javier Rodrigo de Francia, took a statement from the footballer and the club, including Jorge Valdano, but did not see a crime.
I was going to file when something got in the way. Javier Mascherano, FC Barcelona midfielder, accepted a sentence without jail for very similar events. Mascherano and Xabi Alonso had met at Liverpool and had almost the same tax scheme with an intermediary company in Madeira.
The then attorney general, Consuelo Madrigal, called and ordered to denounce Alonso and his tax advisor, Iván Zaldua, and an intermediary specialist in Andorran companies, Ignasi Maestre. Madrigal did not want to give the impression that there was a favorable treatment to Real Madrid. At that time, Barcelona accused the State of persecuting him with the Treasury.
So the Madrid prosecutor denounced the footballer. The judge of the case, Enrique de la Hoz, head of court 40 in Madrid, initially filed it in January 2017 with the arguments that the prosecution initially used.
The state attorney and the prosecution then appealed to reopen the case. It was January 2017 and a year later the Provincial Court ordered the case to be reopened. He did not say that there was a crime but he did say enough evidence to judge him for a tax offense. Unlike the rest of footballers (Mascherano, Di María, Falcao, Coentrao, Carvalho, Modric, Cristiano Ronaldo, Mourinho…), Alonso never wanted to seek a conforming sentence that claims to pay a fine and a sentence that does not entail imprisonment.
The footballer and his advisers defended his innocence. They argued that it had yielded its image rights to a company in Madeira with an almost zero tax regime, but that it was in the EU and perfectly declared, so there could be no tax offense.
In November 2019, the Provincial Court of Madrid acquitted him. He considered that the dynamic used was “certainly striking, consisting of the location –through a sort of company manager- of a foreign entity benefiting from a regime of zero or minimum taxation” but added: “That singularity should not lead us to conclude , inevitably, that the conduct prosecuted incurs criminal responsibility ”. Xabi had alluded to the Treasury squeezing the limit but without committing a crime, according to the sentence.
In January 2020, the State Attorney appealed to the Superior Court of Justice of Madrid. In a harsh writing he criticized that the acquittal of Xabi Alonso was based “to a large extent on the statements given at the headquarters of the investigation proceedings carried out in the Prosecutor’s Office without these being proposed by the parties as evidence in the trial, neither introduced nor reproduced in plenary by the trial court “. According to the Treasury, Alonso had collected five million from Adidas and others sponsored by which he had managed not to pay taxes anywhere.
The prosecution also appealed, that also presented two more complaints, for similar events in subsequent years.
In January 2021, the Superior Court of Justice of Madrid agreed with the accusations and ordered a repeat of the sentence. He considered that the acquittal was not well founded. They pointed out that there was an “insurmountable lack of motivation.” They did not force a repeat trial but the sentence did. As was foreseeable, in April 2021, the same court drew up a new sentence with the same ruling: acquitted.
Immediately, the prosecution appealed. He took the case to the Superior Court of Justice of Madrid and considered that “a large part of the court’s conclusions do not obey logic, omitting relevant data.”
By then, Xabi Alonso had already retired from football after going through the Bayern Munich and began a career as a coach. The Superior Court of Justice of Madrid insisted in the summer of 2021 on Xabi’s innocence. He maintained that he had acted believing that he was doing everything correctly.
It seemed the end for the footballer and his advisers. Now there was only one complicated appeal before the Supreme Court.
And it came. The State Advocacy, representing the Tax Agency, appealed in the fall. The Madrid economic crimes prosecutor’s office, the same one that in 2016 did not see a crime, chose to let the matter run, according to sources close to the case. The matter reached the high court only from the hand of the Tax Agency.
But on December 14, a board of prosecutors of the Supreme Court decided to adhere to the appeal of the Lawyers, according to sources familiar with the case. It was a somewhat intermediate decision: he did not submit his own brief but rather joined the one presented by the Legal Profession. It’s not the first time that the prosecution and the legal profession collide on issues of tax crimes and in which the heavy hand is placed on the Treasury. But Xabi Alonso’s is already more than an obsession in the Madrid courts.