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Former Chelsea striker Diego Costa sentenced to six months in prison, fined Sh65 million

Last updated 1 month ago | By Waweru Titus

Former Chelsea and Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa. [Photo: Courtesy]

Former Chelsea and Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa has been fined €543,208 (Sh65 million) and handed a six-month prison sentence for tax fraud.

Costa pleaded guilty to defrauding the state of more than €1m (Sh121 million) by not declaring payments of more than €5.15m (Sh621 million) from his 2014 transfer from Atletico to Chelsea in the United Kingdom.

The striker will, however, not serve any of his six-month prison sentence, as is customary under Spanish law.

According to talkSPORT, Costa appeared in court wearing a white mask in the Spanish capital on Thursday and agreed to pay an additional fine of Sh4 million on top of his initial punishment to avoid jail time.

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"Diego Costa reached an agreement with the Prosecutor's Office months ago and has already paid the corresponding fine plus interest.

"The request for a prison sentence was withdrawn,” an Atletico spokesman told Reuters on Wednesday.

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Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Luka Modric and Javier Mascherano are among the star footballers to have breached tax laws in Spain over recent years.

Football - La Liga Santander - FC Barcelona v Atletico Madrid - Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain - April 6, 2019 Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa is shown a red card by referee Jesus Gil Manzano. [REUTERS/Albert Gea]

In 2011, Costa blossomed as a goalscorer and helped Atletico win a La Liga title, a Copa del Rey title, and a UEFA Super Cup.

His performances attracted the attention of several big clubs, and in 2014 Costa was transferred to Chelsea for €35 million (Sh4 billion).

Costa played an integral role in Chelsea’s 2016/17 Premier League title win and scored 52 league goals in 89 games for Chelsea.

At the Stamford Bridge, Costa won two Premier League titles and a League Cup.

In 2018, following differences with head coach Antonio Conte, Costa returned to Spain (Atletico) in a club-record transfer worth an initial €56 million (Sh7 billion).

He won a UEFA Europa League title and another UEFA Super Cup.