Diego Costa appears in court today

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Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa made a brief appearance at court on Thursday as he prepares to face trial for alleged tax fraud.

According to a court filing, the forward is accused of defrauding the state of more than 1 million euros by not declaring payments of more than 5.15m euros following his move from Chelsea in 2014.

The Spain international is also accused of failing to declare image rights of more than 1m euros.

Prosecutors in Madrid were due to ask for a six-month prison sentence and a fine of more than 500,000 euros (£450,000).

In Spain, sentences below two years for non-violent crimes can be exchanged for a fine, so if found guilty, Costa would avoid prison if he paid an additional fine of 36,500 euros (£32,896).

An Atletico spokesman said on Wednesday: “Diego Costa reached an agreement a few months ago with the prosecutor and has already paid the corresponding fine plus interest and the request for a prison sentence was withdrawn.

“This week it is expected that agreement will be ratified in court, as is mandatory.”

Costa’s court appearance comes seven days before the resumption of the La Liga season.

Atletico Madrid’s first game back is a trip to Athletic Bilbao on Sunday, June 14.

RELATED STORY: Diego Costa set for tax fraud trial

By Sky Sports

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