MADRID — Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has said his appearance in a Spanish court to answer charges of a €3.3 million tax fraud is no distraction ahead of Sunday’s Premier League game at Chelsea.
Mourinho arrived at the Court of First Instance and Instruction No.4 in Pozuelo de Alarcon, Madrid, at around 9:30 a.m. local time on Friday. The hearing was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.
The court date has affected United’s preparations for the game at Mourinho’s former club, with theprematch news conferencebrought forward from Friday to Thursday so that he could attend.
Mourinho is due to give evidence in the same building whereCristiano Ronaldo testified in his tax fraud hearing on July 31, and wherethe Portuguese pair’s agent, Jorge Mendes, spoke in front of the judgehearing a similar case involving current Monaco striker Radamel Falcao on June 27.
Unlike Ronaldo, Mourinho arrived at the front of the court, but gave no comment as he was pursued by the group of reporters and cameras outside the entrance. The size of the assembled media, however, was not as large as it was when Ronaldo was forced to use a different entrance to attend his hearing.
Asked if his court appearance was a “distraction” for himself or his team ahead of the crunch clash at Stamford Bridge, Mourinho said: “No. It’s just a change of normal training time because I want to be there and I can’t be there in the morning so I have to change the timings.”
Prosecutors at Spain’s Hacienda tax authority have accused Mourinhoof using companies in Ireland, New Zealand and the British Virgin Islands to hide image rights income received when he was Real Madrid manager in 2011 and 2012.
He denies all charges, and said in astatementearlier this year that he had paid €26m in taxes during his three years living in Spain as Madrid coach and had previously “entered into a settlement agreement regarding 2013.”
Mourinho is to be represented on Friday by Jose Antonio Choclan, who is also now representing Ronaldo after the Portugal captain switched from his previous advisors, Baker McKenzie, following his July appearance in court regarding an alleged €14.7m fraud on his image rights income.