England captain Wayne Rooney could reportedly be liable for £3.5 million in unpaid taxes as part of his involvement with a film scheme.
According to Tom Witherow and James Burton of the Daily Mail, the Manchester United skipper is said to be "the largest investor in a scheme involving the film industry and investment firm Invicta."
In the report, it’s stated HM Revenue & Customs consider the 30-year-old responsible for the sum aforementioned, although this has been denied by Invicta.
Per Witherow and Burton, Rooney has been investigated by the tax authorities five times in the last four years, and he paid £500,000 to the taxman in line with an anonymous scheme last year.
According to the Times, per the initial source, “Rooney used Invicta 43 to generate tax relief to shelter £12.5 million, enough to legally avoid tax on three years of salary.”
It’s suggested the forward is one of 225 wealthy individuals that bought into the scheme, although it was shut down by the government during the mid-2000s.
“Rooney put in about £2.5 million cash and borrowed about £10 million from Bank of Scotland, it is understood, leaving him potentially liable for an upfront payment of £3.75 million,” added Witherow and Burton. “He is one of a small number of investors who is understood not yet to have received a formal tax demand, according to the Times.”
An investor is quoted as telling the Times “people are very worried” as many stand to be “financially embarrassed.”
In addition to Rooney, England’s current manager Gareth Southgate is also said to be having his role in an avoidance scheme investigated by HM Revenue & Customs, according to the Daily Mirror (h/t Witherow and Burton). He is said to have invested in projects set up by finance firm Ingenious, which are also geared towards supporting the film industry.
The news has broken at a far from ideal time for Rooney and Southgate, as they gear up for a FIFA World Cup qualifier against Malta on Saturday at Wembley Stadium.
The striker is set to start for the Three Lions despite having been relegated to the bench by his club manager Jose Mourinho in recent outings. Southgate will take charge of the team after the recent departure of Sam Allardyce, who left his post after just 67 days following a sting by the Daily Telegraph that captured him advising how to get around FA rules.