Xabi, who was on the national team when Spain won two UEFA Euros and a FIFA World Cup in between, from 2008 to 2010, says his ‘conscience is clear’ because he has ‘done everything correctly’.
A case which is becoming familiar in football, that of Alonso relates to image rights being ceded to a limited company to lower taxes and which Spanish authorities consider being fraudulent.
According to the prosecution, Xabi’s accountant Iván Zaldúa and the director of Kardazli Comercio Serviços de Consultoría e Investimentos Lda, Ignasi Maestre, agreed in 2009 to cede Alonso’s royalties for his image – or his face used in advertising – to the latter firm, based on the Portuguese island of Madeira.
Kardazli was 100% owned by a company in Panamá, of which Alonso was the sole shareholder from December 2009 onwards.
Prosecutors say the ‘apparent’ ceding of image royalties took place ‘when [Xabi] was non-resident in Spain, given that he was signed up by Real Madrid in summer 2009 after being sold by Liverpool FC in the UK.
But this tax structure was maintained in subsequent years, ‘at least until 2012’, during which Alonso was a Spanish resident for tax purposes.
Spanish authorities say the Madeira firm was merely a front company and did not have any business activity.
As a result, Alonso is considered to owe over €2 million to the Spanish tax office.
Given that the amount considered ‘defrauded’ comes to over €120,000, it is classed as a criminal, rather than civil offence, and each year of Xabi’s tax residence in Spain during which the company structure was used is considered a separate ‘crime’.
This means the prosecution is seeking two years in prison each for 2010 and 2012, and one year for 2011, when the amount of unpaid tax was lower.
“I’m completely calm because I’m aware that I did everything properly, that I’ve cooperated with the law and have shown them everything I did, step by step,” Alonso insists.