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Ronaldo pleads guilty to tax fraud at Madrid court

Cristiano Ronaldo arrives at the court in Madrid, on Jan. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

MADRID (AP) -- Cristiano Ronaldo pleaded guilty to tax fraud on Tuesday and received a two-year suspended sentence.

The Juventus forward, who was facing charges stemming from his days at Real Madrid, was in court for about 45 minutes and signed an agreement which will cost him nearly 19 million euros ($21.6 million) in fines.

Ronaldo arrived at court in a black van and was wearing a black sports coat, black pants and white tennis shoes. He stopped to sign an autograph before walking up some stairs leading to the court house. He was accompanied by his lawyers and his partner, Georgina Rodriguez. A couple of police officers escorted the player.

A few hundred journalists waited outside but the Portuguese player did not stop to talk.

The court had dismissed Ronaldo's request to enter the building directly from the parking lot, which would have allowed him to avoid the media. The request was made for security reasons, but the court said it didn't think the measure was needed despite the player's notoriety.

Court officials said Ronaldo didn't make any comments while in the courtroom to sign the agreement.

Smiling, he again stopped to sign autographs on his way out of the court house.

Ronaldo made the deal to plead guilty with Spain's state prosecutor and tax authorities last year.

In Spain, a judge can suspend sentences for two years or less for first-time offenders.

In 2017, a state prosecutor accused Ronaldo of four counts of tax fraud from 2011-14 worth 14.7 million euros ($16.7 million). Ronaldo was accused of having used shell companies outside Spain to hide income made from image rights.

The accusations didn't involve his salary from Real Madrid, his club from 2009 until joining Italian champion Juventus last year.

Separately, Ronaldo is facing a rape allegation in the United States.

Kathryn Mayorga filed a civil lawsuit in Nevada in September claiming Ronaldo raped her in his Las Vegas hotel room in 2009. Police reopened an investigation into the allegation at her request. Ronaldo has denied any wrongdoing.

Former Real Madrid player Xabi Alonso also was in court in Madrid on Tuesday. He is accused of defrauding tax authorities of about 2 million euros ($2.3 million) from 2010-12.

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