Atletico’s Diego Costa fined for tax fraud but avoids jail

Atletico Madrid forward Diego Costa has been fined 543,208 euros (around $610,000) and given a six-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to tax fraud.

The striker, however, will not have to go to prison because under Spanish law, non-violent first time offenders who are sentenced to less than two years in jail are able to avoid time behind bars by paying a further financial penalty, reports Xinhua news agency.

Costa on Thursday accepted charges of avoiding a tax payment of over a million euros, linked to his transfer to Chelsea in 2014 and also to tax related to image rights.

He joins a long list of players from Spain’s La Liga who have been fined for tax evasion, with Leo Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Iker Casillas among those who have previously appeared in court for similar offences.