Yorkshire Evening Post 22/6/15
LEEDS UNITED owner Massimo Cellino is waiting to learn his fate tomorrow (June 23) with a trial over allegations that he evaded tax owed on an imported Range Rover due to take place in an Italian court.
Cellino, who is accused of importing the car from the USA without paying tax, denies any wrongdoing.
But if he is found guilty, he could incur a further ban from the Football League – following his disqualification for a similar tax offence late last year.
According to Sardinian newspaper La Nuova Sardegna, the Range Rover trial will be ruled upon by Dr Sandra Lepore, the judge who convicted Cellino of evading tax due on a yacht called Nelie last year.
The Range Rover charge was originally due to be settled in January but the court ordered a postponement after Cellino failed to attend.
A hearing in the Sardinian capital of Cagliari in mid-April then delayed the trial until today.
According to reports in Italy, the prosecution in the Range Rover case is calling for a fine of almost £30,000.
Cellino is the subject of a separate tax evasion case regarding failing to allegedly pay import duty of around £75,000 on a yacht called Lucky 23, but the case was adjourned until October 16 at a hearing earlier this month in Cagliari.
Back on December 1, the Football League disqualified Cellino from owning Leeds after obtaining documents from an Italian court that found him guilty of tax evasion on Nelie.
Cellino failed to overturn his disqualification from running the club at a Football League hearing in January.
He subsequently resigned as club president after losing his appeal against the league’s decision to disqualify him as a “relevant owner” until April.
The ban was then extended until the end of the season following Cellino’s failure to disclose court documents, which had confirmed non-payment of tax on Nelie had been a dishonest act.
On May 7, United confirmed that Cellino had been granted permission by the Football League to return to the Championship club’s board after his ban had expired.
A statement said the Italian had taken up the role of chairman with immediate effect after passing the Football League’s Owners’ and Directors’ Test.