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The BBC's David Willey
"The tenor's accused of making false tax declarations"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 2 May, 2001, 21:36 GMT 22:36 UK
Pavarotti tax trial adjourned
Luciano Pavarotti and Angela Gheorghiu
Pavarotti celebrated 40 years in opera last Saturday
The trial of the Italian opera singer Luciano Pavarotti, who is charged with tax evasion, has been adjourned until September.

Pavarotti did not appear at the opening of the trial on Wednesday in his home town of Modena, but he is expected to appear when the trial resumes to explain his complicated tax situation.

The opening session was dedicated to legal technicalities.

Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo and Jose Careras
Pavarotti is one of the famed 'Three Tenors'
Italian prosecutors allege that the tenor filed false tax returns from 1989 to 1995 and Pavarotti has failed to convince them that he was resident in Monte Carlo during that time.

'Tax exemption'

"We will present a series of documents and witnesses to show that the core of Pavarotti's business is not in Italy, but all over the world, from Britain to the United States," Pavarotti's lawyer, Massimo Leone said.

Pavarotti owns properties in Modena, and other Italian cities, but claims that he travels constantly and can therefore claim some tax exemption.

Mr Leone refused to indicate the exact amount of money in question.

This case is the culmination of a long-running battle over the tenor's taxes.

Expert witnesses

Last summer Pavarotti agreed to pay the Italian government more than 24 billion lire (7.7m) in back taxes in installments.

But under Italian law once the authorities have been notified of a criminal act there is a duty to prosecute.

And after a hugely successful career during which he has sung in 60 countries, given nearly 2,000 performances and won five Grammies, the Italian taxman is now demanding a further penalty.

The prosecution is set to call 25 expert witnesses, including opera impresarios from the United States and several European countries.

The judiciary is concerned to show that the law is still the law - even for one of Italy's most famous sons.

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See also:

02 May 01 | Arts
King of the high Cs
27 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Pavarotti settles tax wrangle
14 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Pavarotti dreams of Madonna duet
20 Apr 00 | Entertainment
Pavarotti's anniversary date
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