Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa investigated by Spanish tax authorities over boot deal
Atletico Madrid forward Diego Costa is reportedly under investigation by the Spanish tax authorities due to allegedly unpaid taxes from a boot sponsorship deal.
According to El Mundo, the Hacienda investigators noted that Costa received payment from a commercial partner to his Spanish bank account, but left €400,000 of income undeclared in his 2014 tax return.
Brazil-born Spain international Costa moved from Atletico to English club Chelsea in the summer of 2014 and was resident in London at the time the reported payment was made.
Costa would be the latest client of Portuguese super-agent Jorge Mendes’ Gestifute agency to be investigated by the Spanish tax authorities, with this report coming as a judge is close to deciding whether a much larger case against Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo should be sent forward for trial.
Ronaldo and his advisors have strongly denied accusations that a web of companies in Ireland and the British Virgin Islands was used to avoid paying at least €14.7 million in taxes due on image rights income.
There is no suggestion of the use of any tax havens or complicated tax planning in Costa’s affairs. Gestifute did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the El Mundo article claiming the new investigation.
The image rights income of other Gestifute clients including Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho and current and former Real and Atletico players Radamel Falcao, Fabio Coentrao, Pepe, Angel Di Maria and Ricardo Carvalho have also been investigated by the Spanish authorities.
In June 2017, Mendes himself gave evidence in court regarding a not yet resolved fraud case involving current Monaco striker Falcao.
Ronaldo and Mourinho have also made statements to the judge overseeing their cases, both maintaining they have already paid everything owed to the tax authority.
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan