One of football’s top managers, Jose Mourinho, may have used a New Zealand company to dodge tax on his image rights.

Mourinho, the former Real Madrid manager who was also sacked by Manchester United before Christmas, has accepted a one-year prison sentence for defrauding the Spanish state of €3.3 million ($NZ5.4m), a Spanish court filing showed on Tuesday, although the Portuguese will not serve any jail time.

The filing said the tax ministry and Mourinho’s defence team had agreed to exchange the 12-month prison sentence with a daily fine of €250 for 24 months, equivalent to €182,500, as under Spanish law jail terms under two years can be served under probation.

The court filing said Mourinho leased his image rights to companies based in the British Virgin Islands and Ireland in 2004, but left those earnings out of his tax returns from 2011 and 2012, when he was coach of Real Madrid and a fiscal resident in Spain, “with the aim of obtaining illicit profits”, according to Reuters.

But the Guardian reported that the companies were based in the British Virgin Islands, Ireland and New Zealand.

“All these corporate structures were used by the accused in order to hide the profits from his image rights,” the Guardian reported the court indictment as saying.

As well as the one-year prison sentence, Mourinho has been fined €1.9 million, 60 percent of the amount defrauded, as well as €121,764 in interest.

Mourinho is one of the most successful coaches in modern European soccer, winning league titles with Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Porto. He also won the Champions League in 2004 with Porto and in 2010 with Inter Milan.

He was sacked in December by Manchester United after the Premier League club, who won the last of their record 20 top flight league titles in 2013, endured their worst start to a season for 28 years.

(Source:Radio New Zealand)

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