Yorkshire Post 24/6/15
THE Football League will make no comment regarding Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino’s conviction for tax evasion on a Range Rover until they have seen formal documentation from the case.
Cellino was fined €40,000 at a court hearing in Cagliari yesterday after failing to pay VAT on a Range Rover which had been imported from the United States, according to reports in Sardinia.
He was found guilty of tax evasion, but acquitted of customs offences because estimates of the vehicle’s value fell below the threshold of criminal liability.
The league will now wait to study formal court documents from the case before establishing whether this latest conviction was confirmed by the court judge to be a dishonest act – which could result in a further ban for Cellino under their owners’ and directors’ test.
The same judge in Cagliari, Dr Sandra Lepore, convicted Cellino of tax evasion in relation to his yacht, Nelie, last year and fined him €600,000.
That conviction led to Cellino being disqualified by the Football League in December from having any executive influence at Leeds for four months after they ruled the offence to be dishonest.
The League ruled that because the tax offence involving Nelie had been confirmed by the Italian judge to have been a dishonest act, Cellino breached rules regarding owners and directors.
Cellino failed to have his disqualification overturned at a League hearing in January.
In early March, the ban was extended until the end of the season as a result of Cellino’s failure to disclose court documents.
The United owner also faces a separate court hearing in Italy for tax evasion in relation to a second yacht, Lucky 23, in October.
Leeds have made no comment about the Range Rover case.