Armed Customs and Excise officers are reported to have boarded Cristiano Ronaldo’s holiday yacht as part of an inspection.
The Real Madrid footballer is said to have been stopped at high sea after leaving a restaurant on the paradise island of Formentera near Ibiza.
Spanish society magazine Hola, which broke the news on Wednesday, published pictures on its website of three officials boarding the yacht.
The inspection is said to have lasted around an hour and a half.
Cristiano was apparently on the yacht with girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez and friends and family when the officials approached the vessel on a large boat.
Hola reported: “A Customs camera filmed everything that happened during the inspection.
“One of Cristiano’s relatives was the person who dealt with the administrative work and showed them the documentation they asked for.
“Ronaldo stayed very calm and at no time did he get up to speak to the officials or ask about what was happening.
“He was with his girlfriend Georgina and his mother Dolores Aveiro, who he was seen chatting with inside the yacht.”
Cristiano and his entourage were understood to be on their way back to Ibiza when they were stopped. There was no immediate response on Wednesday from Spain’s Tax Agency.
Ronaldo is due to attend court at the end of the month to testify as part of an investigation into his tax affairs over claims he may have defrauded £12.9 million by paying insufficient tax over a four-year period.
There is no suggestion the inspection and the court probe are linked in any way.
The inspection is believed to have formed part of routine checks performed on vessels in the area, related to the paperwork on board to make sure companies hiring yachts have paid the correct taxes.
The Customs agents are understood to have left after discovering everything on board Cristiano’s yacht, named as AYa London, was in order.
A Spanish Tax Agency spokesman confirmed the inspection formed part of a routine check.
He said: “It formed part of routine checks on vessels that are carried out every summer in different parts of Spain including the Balearic Islands.
“It doesn’t affect the users of the vessels but their owners or the charter firms if they are rented out.
“These inspections involve the requesting of different documentation for the purpose of varying fiscal checks, especially regarding the possibility that the exemption on registration tax is incorrectly applied.
“That exemption can be applied if the vessel is actually being rented out, but not if it’s not being rented.”
However, a Spanish showbiz website added more fuel to the fire by claiming that the inspection followed a spat between a member of Cristiano’s security team and another seafarer.
OKDiario.com showbiz section LOOK claimed: “The inspection had nothing to do with any personal question relating to the footballer or the accusation hanging over his head relating to an alleged tax crime which will see him going before an investigating judge on July 31.
“The thing that led to the Customs agents investigating the yacht Ronaldo was renting was much more trivial.
“Witnesses have told LOOK that their presence on board the yacht was related to a request from a specific person.
“A Zodiac dinghy commanded by a member of the player’s security team wanted to board a suspicious-looking vessel at high sea.
“The person on board that vessel didn’t allow himself to be intimidated and faced with the reprimands of the bodyguard, he felt obliged to call the authorities to put a stop to the tense situation.
“A Customs boat was very nearby and they were the first to turn up to mediate in the conflict that was taking place between the player’s security person and the other individual.
“Finally the Customs officials decided to inspect the vessel and after asking the captain for the rental documents and seeing everything was in order, they left.”
Cristiano did not appear to let the drama affect him, posting a picture on social media on Wednesday titled ‘Big Family With Love’ – of him showing off his washboard stomach as he stood to attention behind loved ones including his mum, new twins and girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez.