Diego Costa avoids prison afte...

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Diego Costa avoids prison after guilty plea in tax fraud case


Former Chelsea striker Diego Costa has avoided a six-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to defrauding the Spanish state of more than €1m in tax.

The 31-year-old Atletico Madrid player will have to pay a fine of €543,208.

Costa was a two-time Premier League winner with Chelsea who bought him from Atletico for £32 million pounds six years ago.

The player landed himself in trouble for not declaring over €5.15 million in payments from his 2014 transfer from the Blues to the La Liga club in his tax return.

He also failed to declare more than €1m in image rights.

Prosecutors revealed that the Spain international defrauded the state of €1,014,416 in tax by not declaring those amounts.

In Spain, sentences of under two years for non-violent crimes can be exchanged for a fine so Costa, who also agreed to include an additional €36,500 to his fine, will avoid any time in jail.

"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with the prosecutor and has already paid the corresponding fine plus interest and the request for a prison sentence was withdrawn," an Atletico spokesman told the Reuters news agency on Wednesday.

"This week it is expected that agreement will be ratified in court, as is mandatory."

Costa, who appeared in court wearing a face mask due to the coronavirus pandemic, was sold back to the Madrid club in 2017 for a reported €55 million.

Injuries have prevented the striker from regaining his best form since his La Liga return but reports from Spain claim that he is looking fully fit after the enforced two month sabbatical during the pandemic.

Costa didn't look fit and was substituted during Atletico's Champions League win against Liverpool at Anfield in March.

La Liga returns on 11 June but Diego Simeone's team won't be in action until 14 June when they face Athletic Bilbao away from home as they look to get back into the Champions League qualification places.



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