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Saturday, 20 October, 2001, 09:00 GMT 10:00 UK
Pavarotti cleared of tax evasion
Luciano Pavarotti (C) in court
Mr Pavarotti's trial began in May
An Italian court has cleared opera star Luciano Pavarotti of tax evasion charges, throwing out a state claim for up to $18m.

Prosecutors had argued that Mr Pavarotti was mainly resident in the Italian town of Modena between 1989 and 1995, and not the state of Monaco, as claimed by the tenor.

I'm not a tax evader, I have always paid taxes

Luciano Pavarotti

If convicted, he could have faced a sentence of up to one and a half years.

But the court in Modena, Mr Pavarotti's home town, threw out the charges of filing false tax returns.

Luciano Pavarotti
Mr Pavarotti celebrated 40 years in opera this year

The opera star has been convicted of tax evasion in the past - he was fined $4.55m in 1999 and last year agreed to repay the Italian Government over $11m in back taxes and penalties.

But this time he argued that he had always acted in good faith when filing his 1989-95 returns.

"I'm not a tax evader," he said after his acquittal. "I have always paid taxes."

Rare visits

His main defence was that he had been officially a resident of Monte Carlo, a tax haven, and had done most of his business outside Italy.

In reality, Pavarotti doesn't pay tax anywhere in the world

Italian prosecutor

One of his lawyers had argued that the tenor only visited Italy a few days each year to take "holidays, try to slim and see friends", and was "put up by friends" each time he came over.

Otherwise, he lived "179 days a year" in the United States, the lawyer said.

But the Italian prosecutor had replied that Mr Pavarotti had extensive interests in Modena, including a "luxury residence and 11 companies".

"In reality, Pavarotti doesn't pay tax anywhere in the world," the prosecutor said.

See also:

14 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Pavarotti dreams of Madonna duet
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