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Monday 29 May 2017

Mourinho allegedly used Dublin firm for tax-free image earnings

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho

A Dublin-based firm is at the centre of an international storm after calls for an investigation into Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho's financial affairs.

It is alleged that Mourinho used the company, Multisports & Image Management (MIM), as part of a scheme to help him avoid paying tax on earnings from the use of his image rights for product endorsement. This has been strongly denied.

MIM's website describes the company as "an international image management company specialising in maximising image value in the sports arena". Its most recent available accounts - covering 2014 - reveal it had cash of €4m in the bank. No mention of Mourinho is made in the accounts.

It is alleged that Mourinho used MIM as a conduit for money from his image right deals.

MIM has also been linked with Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo, also mentioned in reports as having allegedly moved money to a British Virgin Islands tax haven. Calls to MIM's Dublin office went unanswered last night.

Claims

The claims about Ronaldo and Mourinho have emerged in a huge data leak, probed for the past number of months by a group of media organisations. A Sunday newspaper said it had found evidence suggesting tax officials in Britain and Spain had been misled by Mourinho's advisers during a probe into more than £10m (€11.9m) apparently hidden in a tax haven.

British MP Meg Hillier, chairwoman of the country's public accounts committee, said: "These revelations are extraordinary and warrant a close examination by the UK tax authorities."

Gestifute, which provides "career management" for sporting professionals, has rejected the allegations. The firm said: "One newspaper makes the unfounded allegation that Gestifute, its clients and its advisers of having, directly or indirectly, created, organised or designed tax structures to facilitate tax evasion using tax havens. The most serious and malicious allegations in the inquiries relate to Jose Mourinho and Cristiano Ronaldo.

"Both Cristiano Ronaldo and Jose Mourinho are fully compliant with their tax obligations.

"Neither Cristiano Ronaldo nor Jose Mourinho have ever been involved in legal proceedings regarding a tax offence.

"Any insinuation or accusation made to Cristiano Ronaldo or Jose Mourinho over the commission of a tax offence will be reported to the legal authorities and prosecuted."

The European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) consortium - which worked alongside Germany's Der Spiegel to which the information was originally passed from whistleblowing outlet Football Leaks - said the documents uncovered include photographs, spreadsheets and emails.

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