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Castroneves indicted for tax evasion UPDATE #8 Here is a video of Castroneves speaking to reporters outside the courthouse on Friday.

10/04/08 A clever reader on our discussions forums posted the photo to the right.

In court, an attorney for Miller called the government's case "weak, thin and it's not worth the paper it's printed on." Added the attorney, Mike Tein, "If the case did not involve a celebrity, there would be no case."

The government alleges that income Helio Castroneves received from Coimex Internacional and Penske Racing was placed in an offshore Panamanian shell corporation. The indictment states that Castroneves lied about his income on his tax returns.

Tein described the offshore account in question as "a pension plan used by celebrities like the Rolling Stones," adding, "the government does not understand this pension plan."

But IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said using offshore corporations to evade taxes is a crime. "This case sends a clear message that the IRS is committed to vigorously enforcing the tax laws and stopping offshore tax evasion."

Castroneves' attorney, Mark Seiden, told CNN he believes his client will be vindicated.

"Helio is a superb and accomplished race car driver," he said. "He is not an accountant. He relied on others for his taxes. Helio did nothing wrong." [Why was Helio President of this corporation that he supposedly knew nothing about?]

10/03/08 Helio Castroneves just pleaded not guilty to seven charges of tax fraud -- but for a guy who's known for driving at high speeds, he's not goin' anywhere fast.  We're told he was brought into the arraignment in cuffs and shackles, and cried throughout the hearing (The reader below told you he can turn on and off the phony tears at the snap of his fingers). He had to give up his passport, and won't be allowed anywhere outside the US -- though interestingly he can race this weekend in Atlanta.  Bond was set at $10 million, $8 mil of which is coming out of an account in the Netherlands.  His lawyer was also arraigned along with Helio's sister, who were allegedly in on the tax scheme. TMZ.com

10/03/08 Prosecutors said Castroneves and his sister faced a statutory maximum of up to 35 years in prison if convicted on all charges, while Miller could face a maximum of 20 years. However, actual penalties were expected to be much less and were tied to the amount of unpaid tax.  Given his age if Helio spends any time behind bars his racing career will be over.  His squeaky clean image certainly is tarnished.  We hear someone that Castroneves screwed in the past informed the government of Helio's illegal activities (paybacks are a bitch) and the government is all too happy to come down hard on Castroneves to make an example of him.

10/03/08 Here is the full lawsuit (PDF) filed by the US Government against Castroneves and his team of cohorts.

10/02/08 Castroneves, 33, was indicted along with his sister, Katiucia Castroneves, and his attorney, Alan R. Miller (charged only with conspiracy), who served as treasurer and secretary, respectively, of Castroneves Racing Inc. Helio Castroneves was president. According to the government’s court filings, Castroneves Racing served to manage the driver’s day-to-day career operations.

According the indictment, another company, Seven Promotions Corp., was incorporated in Panama and controlled by Helio and Katiucia Castroneves, along with another family member. The government alleges that the defendants used Seven Promotions to conceal and disguise the true amount of Helio Castroneves income, by transferring money through various bank accounts, as well as disguising payments intended for Castroneves as payments made to the company. The indictment alleges, among other things, that Miller filed fraudulent federal income-tax returns on Castroneves behalf that failed to report approximately $5,550,000 in income received from Penske and Castroneves sponsor Coimex, a Brazilian trading company.

The government further contends that to conceal the more than $5 million in income not reported in tax filings, the defendants testified falsely during a February 2004 civil trial related to matters concerning Seven Promotions.

Each count is punishable by a maximum of five years in federal prison upon conviction.

Castroneves must appear in federal court in Miami on Oct. 3 to answer the indictment. It is unclear how the court appearance might affect the driver’s racing activities this weekend.

10/02/08 A grand jury on Thursday returned a tax evasion indictment against the 33-year-old Castroneves, alleging conspiracy and six counts of tax evasion from 1999 through 2002. Also indicted were Castroneves’ sister and business manager, Kati Castroneves, and his attorney, Alan Miller. The Conspiracy and Tax Evasion charges are each punishable by a maximum of five years in federal prison.

Castroneves, a native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, is a resident of Coral Gables, Fla. A two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 in 2001 and 2002 and runner-up to Scott Dixon in the IndyCar Series championship this year, Castroneves also achieved celebrity status last year as the winner of ABC’s “Dancing With The Stars” reality show competition with dance partner Julianne Hough. The Miami Herald reports that Castroneves is charged with failing to pay more than $5 million in taxes. The Herald reports that the three defendants are expected to surrender to authorities and have their first appearances in federal court on Friday morning. They could not be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.

10/02/08 A reader writes, It sounds like Spiderman has wound himself up in a pretty tight web.  Let's see him cry his way out of this one (I'm referring to his ability to turn on fake tears in front of TV cameras with the snap of a finger).  I suspect his racing career is over.  He'll have to stick to dancing to Elvis Presley's Jailhouse Rock in his new pinstripe prison pajamas.  Won't that be a sight.  Mordichai Rosen, Los Angeles

If found guilty Helio faces a possible 5-years behind bars. This is not going to sit well with "The Captain."
10/02/08 Helio Castroneves has been indicted for allegedly not paying taxes on more than $5 million. Castroneves was indicted today in Miami. The charges -- Conspiracy to Defraud the U.S. and Tax Evasion.

According to the indictment, Helio and two others are accused of using "an offshore Panamanian shell corporation, Seven Promotions, to conceal and disguise the true and correct amount of Helio Castroneves' income" from the Internal Revenue Service.

Helio was indicted along with his sister, Katiucia Castroneves, and Alan Miller, Helio's lawyer. The three are charged with conspiracy "for the purpose of impeding, impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful government functions of the Internal Revenue Service."

They are accused of trying to "conceal and disguise" Helio's income. One of the charges is that Helio received $2 million in salary from a Brazilian trading company but made it appear that he only received $200,000.

The Conspiracy and Tax Evasion charges are each punishable by a maximum of five years in federal prison.

Castroneves is known to some as a race car driver, but recently gained wider fame by winning "Dancing with the Stars." TMZ.com

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