Real Madrid poster boy and four-time Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo reportedly signed a $375,000 settlement to end allegations he raped an American woman in Las Vegas in 2009. Additionally, it's reported text messages provide evidence the Portugal captain was involved in negotiating that figure down.
German newspaper Der Spiegel reported Thursday the sum was paid to silence "Susan K.," whose name has been hidden.
The report, using information from website Football Leaks, surmises that a firm called Tollin, based in the British Virgin Islands, was authorised by Ronaldo's lawyers to make the $375,000 payment, while invoices were issued to Multisports & Image Management (MIM). Both companies have handled Ronaldo's advertising and sponsorship deals for some years.
Ronaldo's lawyer, Johannes Kreile, informed the newspaper that his client strongly denies the rape allegation.
The alleged incident is said to have taken place in 2009 at the Palms Place Hotel.
Der Spiegel obtained texts said to have been exchanged between Ronaldo and his Portuguese lawyer, Carlos Osorio de Castro, who ensured his client was kept in the loop as to what transpired during the negotiations.
In those texts, Osorio de Castro is said to have informed Ronaldo the woman was seeking a $950,000 payment—at the time €660,000. When Osorio advised his client a deal could likely be done for less, Ronaldo allegedly replied: "It has to be less!"
Earlier this month, Gestifute—a sports management company created by Ronaldo's agent, Jorge Mendes—slammed Der Spiegel and called allegations of rape "false," per Christopher Bucktin and Dan Warburton of the Mirror:
"The German newspaper Der Spiegel published a long article regarding an alleged accusation of rape that would have been directed at Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009, i.e. about eight years ago. The article is nothing but a piece of journalistic fiction. The alleged victim refuses to come forward and confirm the veracity of the accusation.
"The newspaper has based their entire narrative on documents which are unsigned and where the parties are not identified, on emails between lawyers whose content does not concern Cristiano Ronaldo and whose authenticity he cannot verify, and on an alleged letter said to have been sent to him by the so-called victim, but was never received by Cristiano."
According to the report, Ronaldo is referred to by the pseudonym "Topher" throughout the legal documents, with a signature seemingly provided by the player used as confirmation of the authenticity.
Der Spiegel ends its report referencing Gestifute's claim Ronaldo never received his alleged victim's letter, which would be a breach of the out-of-court settlement, stipulating the subject be read the terms within two weeks of it being issued.