Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Carrots, MMA and hotels. Cristiano Ronaldo’s business at OpenLux

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Cristiano Ronaldo’s name has been deleted from the records of beneficiaries of companies based in Luxembourg, but even so, the OpenLux investigation reached some of the deals he did with the society he had in that country until last year.

In May 2020, Cristiano Ronaldo’s company, CRS Holding, which was based in Luxembourg and had a share capital of slightly more than EUR 16 million, was dissolved.

The footballer decided to transfer these assets to Lisbon, where he created the company CR Lifestyle Unipessoal Limitada.

At that moment, the footballer name disappeared from the Beneficiary Register (RBE), a list made public by Luxembourg that reveals the owners of companies domiciled in the country and which served as the basis for the OpenLux investigation, made by an international consortium of journalists.

A similar situation happened with the golf legend Tiger Woods who was registered as the beneficiary of Parkridge Holdings who moved to Luxembourg in 2019, after having been registered in the Netherlands, another country that offers tax advantages.

That holding would have more than $ 218 million in assets, but by the end of 2020, it was dissolved and transferred to Malta, another tax haven.

At the time of this dissolution, the Tiger Woods name also disappeared the Luxembourg public register, as reported by the Miami Herald, one of the media which is part of the research consortium.

“It’s a huge loophole”

It cannot be said that the removal of records is undue, but this possibility of removing names is a problem in the context of investigations around money laundering, for example.

It’s a huge loophole if the information can disappear overnight. From an investigative perspective, historical records are critical in the evidence chain, ”says Thom Townsend, director of the Open Ownership organization, which advocates for financial transparency, in statements to the Miami Herald.

“Or that we saw Panama Papers is that corrupt actors change property quite regularly, to prevent a person from being traced, ”he adds, thus highlighting the failure of the public register that Luxembourg uses as a great sign of the country’s transparency.

Partner of sisters Williams and Stallone and Ben Affleck

But if the Register of Beneficiaries appears to have no memory, still the journalists involved in OpenLux managed to detect several financial transactions carried out by holding of Ronaldo before the dissolution. They did this through trade registers that detail the operations of companies.

Thus, and as reported by the Luxembourg financial magazine PaperJam, it was possible to have access to CRS Holding 2019 Accounts Report, where a turnover of 300 thousand euros stands out after Ronaldo paid debts of more than 8 million euros in 2017.

After that, the player had to pay 18.8 million euros to the Spanish tax authorities, as part of the tax proceeding he was subjected to before leaving Real Madrid.

Trade records also reveal Ronaldo’s participation in several companies, namely in the area of luxury hotels, at Pestana CR7 (50%), where tennis players Serena and Venus Williams also have shares, and at Carlton Palácio (50%).

In addition, Cristiano Ronaldo will also have acquired, through CRS Holding, a participation in UFC Co-Investment Holdco, the company that controls the Ultimate Fighting Championship that organizes the world’s most important Mixed Martial Arts Championship (or MMA in the acronym in English).

In this case, the footballer is a “partner” of other celebrities like the actors Sylvester Stallone e Ben Affleck, and, once again, the Williams sisters, and also tennis player Maria Sharapova.

More surprising is that, as PaperJam advances, Ronaldo will also have acquired a 10% stake in a pre-packaged carrot sale business.

These financial assets will now be within CR Lifestyle Unipessoal Limitada or one of the other companies owned by the footballer.

The athlete has a real investment empire several ranging from luxury hotels to real estate, through a hair treatment clinic and textiles and perfumes, among others.

The money Cristiano Ronaldo managed through CRS Holding, which had already been quoted in the Football Leaks in 2018, is just a drop in a fortune that Forbes valued at the end of 2020 in EUR 880 million.

Susana Valente Susana Valente, ZAP //

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