Atletico Madrid forward Diego Costa has been given a six-month prison term and a €543,208 fine for tax evasion — although he does not face jail time under Spanish law.
Costa, 31, pleaded guilty to evade €1.1 million in taxes on his image rights in a Madrid court Thursday morning.
The allegations apply to 2014 — Spain International signed in July of that year for Chelsea from Atletico — and a complicated set of agreements awarding the marketing rights to several international companies.
Costa paid the outstanding amount in full last year, and will also pay the €543,208 penalty.
His jail sentence was replaced with an additional fine, as is customary in Spain for jail terms of less than two years.
“Diego Costa signed an understanding with the prosecutor a few months ago and has already paid the related fine plus interest, and the appeal for a prison term was removed. An agreement is expected to be ratified at court this week, as is mandatory,” a spokesperson for Atletico told Reuters on Wednesday.
The striker, with several high-profile cases in recent years, is the latest player to fall foul of Spanish authorities over tax evasion on image rights.
Cristiano Ronaldo agreed to fork in a total of €18.8 m in fines and taxes in January 2019, and received a 23-month term, followed by another €365,000 payout.
Captain Lionel Messi, of Barcelona, received a fine of €2 m and a jail sentence of 21 months — later followed by an extra €500,000 — in 2017.
Luka Modric, Marcelo, Radamel Falcao, Angel Di Maria and Javier Mascherano have all been involved in other notable events.
Xabi Alonso, one of the few players who fought charges after refusing to strike an agreement, was acquitted last November of tax fraud, although the prosecutors have appealed.