Former Chelsea striker Diego Costa has been sentenced to six months in prison for tax fraud in Spain – but the Atletico Madrid ace will pay €36,000 fine to avoid any jail time.
Spanish outlet El Mundo report the Brazilian forward pleaded guilty to a tax offence amounting to €1.1m.
He is accused of defrauding the state of more than £900,000 by not declaring payments of more than €5.15m (£4.63m) after his move to Chelsea in 2014.
The tax agency denounced Costa for defrauding the authorities regarding €1m (£890,000) in image rights.
The Spanish treasury added another fiscal crime to Costa before withdrawing and halving the fine.
However, they did give the striker an advance on his wages, meaning he could pay the fine in full.
The fee is said to be around €500,000 (£450,000).
Costa was called to testify in June last year, acknowledging the charges put against him.
The 31-year-old was spotted arriving in court today for a short period of time, donning a protective face mask.
An Atletico spokesman said on Wednesday: “Diego Costa reached an agreement a few months ago with the prosecutor and has already paid the corresponding fine plus interest and the request for a prison sentence was withdrawn.
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Costa is not the only player to have had a running battle with authorities in Spain over tax issues. Barcelona forward Lionel Messi and former Real Madrid ace now Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo have had their fair share of the tax headache, both players ended up avoiding jail terms and paying fines instead.
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