The opera singer, who is one of the world’s highest paid opera stars, was accused of failing to pay millions of pounds in taxes between 1989 and 1995 and was due to appeared in court to answer tax evasion charges.
Pavarotti’s tax said he lived in the tax haven of Monte Carlo, but prosecutors said his business interests were in Northern Italy, adding that the rotund singer did not even know where his Monte Carlo flat was.
In court in Modena, Italy, the singer claimed he had always acted in good faith when filing tax returns during that period and said he spent most of his time in New York.
Pavarotti’s lawyer Massimo Leone said the ruling was very confusing and the reasoning would not be published for another 90 days.
But he added that, while Pavarotti was cleared of fraud, there were some irregularities in the tax calculations and warned the prosecution may appeal.
‘At most it was a little misdemeanour, which is no longer punishable as a crime,’ said Leone.
From a friend’s villa in Modena, Pavarotti said: ‘I really want to thank the law, which triumphed. I am not a tax evader. I have always paid taxes.’
If he had been convicted, the singer would have faced up to three years in prison. Last year, he paid the Italian government about Pounds 8m in back-dated taxes.Links
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