CR7’s tax fraud conviction “may see presidential decorations removed”

Now that he has finally presented himself in a Spanish court to formally receive his 18.8 million conviction for tax fraud (click here), Portugal’s footballing legend Cristiano Ronaldo has further challenges on the horizon – not least the rape case brought by a former model in the United States.

The case has already seen media sources suggesting Ronaldo could face “multi-million-pound claims from sponsors” if his accuser wins (though he has repeatedly denied that rape took place).

But now, as a result of the convictions ratified in Spain, the athlete risks losing the presidential decorations bestowed on him in 2014 and 2016.

The first decoration – Grand Official of the Order of Infante D. Henrique – came in the time of President Cavaco Silva; the second – the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit – was awarded by President Marcelo whose office has said it is “awaiting a copy of the final decision of Spanish authorities” before “pronouncing on the withdrawal of decorations to the footballer”.

Says Lusa, the law underpinning Portuguese Honorable Orders “obliges those who are decorated to defend and dignify Portugal in all circumstances”.

The law establishes that “whenever there is knowledge of any violation of the duties stated, a disciplinary proceeding must be instituted by the order of the Chancellor of the respective Council” which may lead to a penalty of “admonition or irradiation”.

This bottom line will put President Marcelo in the most uncomfortable position. His support and admiration for Ronaldo are well-known.

In his audience with President Trump last year, he reminded the Potus that “Portugal has the best footballer in the world” (click here), and when he announced his official visit to Spain, again last year when Ronaldo’s tax fraud case was very much in the news, he said he hoped to have Ronaldo with him (click here).

Tabloid Correio da Manhã suggests that CR7’s ‘conviction’ is “benevolent”, in that he admitted guilt (even though he began by claiming innocence) and that his agreement to pay an extra €360,000 to see the two-year jail term ‘suspended’ will ensure that he does not have any blot on his ‘criminal record’.

For fans of the footballer who has won so many awards, this may be the news they were waiting for.