A Portuguese travel agent has been accused of allegedly scamming Manchester United striker, Cristiano Ronaldo out of nearly £250,000.
The 53-year-old lady, named in Portugal as Maria Silva, also scammed the football star’s super-agent Jorge Mendes, out of more than £14,000 and former Manchester United winger Nani out of more than £1,500.
Her wrongdoing culminated in her getting a four-year suspended prison sentence at a court in Porto, according to reports by Portuguese newspaper Jornal de Noticias on Sunday.
The newspaper also revealed that dad-of-four Ronaldo, 36, was spared from having to attend her trial after she made a full confession.
The four-time Ballon D’or winner gave a statement to police after flying to Porto by private jet and meeting up with his lawyer Carlos Osorio de Castro.
Jornal de Noticias originally exposed the scandal about greedy Silva’s breach of the trust Cristiano placed in her by giving her his credit card details and pin codes.
The newspaper alleged the €288,000 she scammed him out of – £245,770 – corresponded to around 200 trips he never made between Portugal and other European countries as well as Europe and Africa and the US.
She reportedly carried out the fraud by getting clients to transfer cash for travel she arranged for them to her personal account instead of the business account of the travel agency she worked for.
According to the report, she then billed those trips to the accounts of victims like Cristiano Ronaldo, who had given her a ‘virtual’ credit card and pin code, to “fill the hole” in her company’s accounts.
Cristiano Ronaldo was targeted between a three-year period between February 2007 and July 2010 when he was first playing for Manchester United and then Real Madrid following his record £80 million transfer to Spain.
The Portuguese footballer gave the Policia Judiciaria in Porto a statement on June 7, 2011 according to Jornal de Noticias.
He is said to have entered the police station via a back door so his presence would go unnoticed.
Maria Silva is understood to have been quizzed by police in October 2013, declining to answer questions put to her by cops but making a full confession in court where she was found guilty of fraud and forgery.