The dispute over the German magazine Der Spiegel articles on tax avoidance by the star footballer went on for two years. On Tuesday, the lawsuit came to an end – in favor of the magazine.
At the beginning of 2017, the Hamburg Regional Court issued a temporary injunction prohibiting Der Spiegel, a renowned German magazine, from publishing articles on tax avoidance by football stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Jose Mourinho.
Under the regional court, the press chamber had decided that Spiegel had to immediately delete its title stories about Cristiano Ronaldo’s and Jose Mourinho’s windy tax avoidance manoeuvres from its online archives and was not allowed to republish or circulate them in any other way. In the event of violation, Spiegel was threatened with a fine of up to 250,000 euros ($281,007), according to German federal law.
The texts were part of the Football Leaks coverage, in which the Spiegel uncovered financial machinations in worldwide professional football. Now the magazine was able to win the legal battle over the so-called football leaks.
Law firm of Ronaldo withdraws motion
On Tuesday the judge at the Higher Regional Court of Hamburg declared that he wanted "to follow the defendant's application with reservations," according to the Spiegel. The law firm Schertz Bergmann, which was engaged by the Spanish law firm Senn Ferrero for the legal dispute in Hamburg, then withdrew its application for an injunction.
Still, a complaint of the Kanzlei Senn Ferrero for omission of the reporting is pending in Hamburg after the summary proceedings now in the main procedure for the court case. Senn Ferrero's clients included Ronaldo and Mesut Ozil, among others.
The law firm @SennFerrero tried to prohibit @DerSpiegel's coverage about tax fraud committed by Cristiano Ronaldo and José Mourinho. Yesterday, their German representative withdrew this request in court when he realized he was about to lose. #FootballLeaks https://t.co/PjwD76374k— Christoph Winterbach (@derWinterbach) April 3, 2019
Consequences for Ronaldo
Following reports in Spain, Ronaldo was charged with suspicion of tax evasion and sentenced to two years in prison, suspended on probation. The footballer also paid some 20 million euros ($22,481,944) to the Spanish Treasury. The tax office asked Mesut Ozil to pay a fine of 790,000 euros ($888,047) and two million euros ($2,248,085) in arrears.
After more than two years, the Spiegel is now able for the first time to present the articles that meant to reveal what is believed to be one of the most extensive tax scandals in the history of football.
Several pieces by the Spiegel are available again on their homepage.
I firmly deny the accusations being issued against me. Rape is an abominable crime that goes against everything that I am and believe in. Keen as I may be to clear my name, I refuse to feed the media spectacle created by people seeking to promote themselves at my expense.— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) October 3, 2018
Der Spiegel first reported on Ronaldo’s rape allegations
Kathryn Mayorga, a 34-year-old resident of Las Vegas, accused Ronaldo, in a 32-page complaint filed in August last with a district court in Nevada, US, of raping her on June 13, 2009.
Las Vegas police this week said they were reopening a case filed on that date but did not identify the victim or the alleged perpetrator by name.
Mayorga alleges in the lawsuit that she was pressured into signing a nondisclosure agreement to keep the alleged rape secret and is seeking no less than $200,000 in penalties and damages.
The complaint was first reported by Der Spiegel.