Prosecutors accuse Ronaldo, reported to be the world’s highest paid athlete, of evading €14.7m ($17.3m; £13.1m) in tax.
According to prosecutors, Ronaldo allegedly took “advantage of a company structure created in 2010 to hide income generated in Spain from his image rights from tax authorities”, which was a “voluntary and conscious breach of his fiscal obligations in Spain”.
Ronaldo’s management has also denied the allegations.
But if the case is sent to trial and he is found guilty, the Portuguese forward could face a fine of “at least €28m” and a prison sentence of three-and-a-half years, the Gestha union of experts at Spain’s Inland Revenue says.
According to a statement in Spanish released by his public relations firm, the 32-year-old Ronaldo told the judge: “I have never hidden anything, and never tried to avoid taxes.”
Judge Gómez Ferrer replied: “You are mistaken. Plenty of anonymous people have sat where you are. “You are under investigation for an alleged financial crime based on the evidence provided by the public prosecutor and upon which it is my duty to make a ruling.” But Ronaldo reiterated his stance in his next statement: “No, no. All of this is happening because I am Cristiano Ronaldo.”
After the hearing, Ronaldo refused to talk to the media but released a statement written statement from the player and his lawyers. The player said he was innocent and promised never to talk about the case again until it was resolved.