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Real Madrid defends Ronaldo from tax fraud accusations

In this photo taken on Tuesday, March 28 2017, Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo gestures during the international friendly soccer match between Portugal and Sweden at the dos Barreiros stadium in Funchal, Madeira island, Portugal. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

MADRID (AP) — Real Madrid says it believes Cristiano Ronaldo is "innocent" after a Spanish state prosecutor accused him of defrauding the country's tax office of 14.7 million euros ($16.5 million).

The club issued a statement saying "Real Madrid expresses its complete confidence in our player Cristiano Ronaldo, who we understand has acted within the law as far as complying with his fiscal obligations."

It adds it is convinced Ronaldo "will demonstrate his complete innocence."

A Spanish state prosecutor accused Ronaldo of four counts of tax fraud from 2011-14 on Tuesday. The prosecutor said Ronaldo had used a shell company in the Virgin Islands to hide the true amount of income made from image rights, among other means of illegally reducing the amount of taxes he paid.

Ronaldo's agent has denied any wrongdoing.

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