Famous Tax Dodgers

Lionel Messi

Barcelona FC and Argentina’s soccer star Lionel Messi and his father Jorge Horacio have paid €10 million in back taxes to try and avoid being charged for tax evasion. The two were summoned to appear in a court near Barcelona in September 2013, relating to taxes owed for image rights income in 2010 and 2011. If convicted, they could face a sentence of six years in prison.

Dolce and Gabbana

The founders of the world known Italian designer label Dolce & Gabbana, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana were convicted of tax evasion by a Milan court in June 2013. Prosecutors alleged that the fashion designers failed to declare €200 million when two of the company's main brands were sold to a Luxembourg-based holding company.
Dolce and Gabbana were sentenced to one year and eight months in prison, suspended, and were ordered to pay a penalty of €500 000 to the Italian tax administration.
In the separate cases in Italy, in 2000 the late opera singer Luciano Pavarotti paid more than $12 million in back taxes, while former MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi agreed to pay $51 million to Italy’s tax agency in 2008.

Lauryn Hill

In May 2013 the famous former Fugees band member who won the Grammy award with her solo career album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was sentenced to three months in Federal prison and further three months of home confinement for failing to pay taxes on more than $2 million in earnings during a five-year period. She had pleaded guilty to the charges in 2012. In all, Federal prosecutors said Hill had earned approximately $2.3 million during the five years and had an unpaid tax total of $1,006,517. She told the court she had always meant to eventually pay her taxes but had been unable to since her career tanked.

Wesley Snipes

On 2 April 2013 American actor, film producer, and martial arts expert Wesley Snipes was released from jail after almost three years for failing to submit income tax returns. Snipes was convicted of three misdemeanor counts of failing to file tax returns in 2008. Between 1999 and 2001, Snipes avoided $7 million in taxes. One of Snipes’ original defenses was that he had relied on the advice of his tax advisors, Eddie Ray Kahn and Douglas P. Rosile. They were convicted by the same jury of tax fraud and conspiracy and both got longer prison terms than Snipes.

Leona Helmsley

The hotel magnate famously is quoted as saying "We don't pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes." The judge ordered her prison sentence to begin on 15th April which is Tax Day in the USA.

Al Capone

They never managed to hang charges on Mr. Capone for racketeering but his avoidance of paying tax proved his downfall. 

Ulrich Hoeness

Ulrich Hoeness, the German football legend and former Bayern Munich football club president was sentenced to three and a half years in prison after being convicted for tax fraud by a German court on Thursday 13 March 2014. Hoeness cheated the German state out of 27m Euros in unpaid tax. He said he would not appeal the verdict and he had resigned from his position as president and board chairman of the football club.


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Last Updated: 11/11/2020 2:12 PM     print this page
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