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Monday, April 26, 1999 Published at 21:56 GMT 22:56 UK

World: Europe

Pavarotti stung by the taxman

Italian opera star Luciano Pavarotti owes $2.5m to the taxman in his native country, according to the Italian Finance Ministry.

David Willey reports: "Luciano Pavarotti is one of the world's highest paid opera stars"
Magistrates rejected an appeal against his latest tax assessment in which the tenor insisted that his main residence was a two-bedroom flat in the principality of Monaco.

But the magistrates argued that the Monte Carlo address was only a formal one and was too small to accommodate the singer's entire family, who, the ministry said, lived in the central Italian town of Modena in a property worth more than $3m.

Six bank accounts

Mr Pavarotti, one of the world's most highly paid opera stars, also owns a $2m seaside home at Pesaro on the Adriatic coast and has allegedly spent about $2m on building a racecourse in Modena.

He is also reported to have spent nearly $1m on restoring the villa he occupies with his girlfriend, former secretary Nicoletta Mantovani, on the family estate in Modena. Mr Pavarotti also holds accounts with six different banks.

More stars under scrutiny

A report distributed in tax offices throughout Italy detailed the opera star's wealth, and suggested that tax inspectors would start fresh investigations into the tax position of other personalities in the fields of entertainment, sports and big business who maintain flats in Monte Carlo.

As for Mr Pavarotti himself, the authorities say that as he has failed to prove he paid tax anywhere else in the world, he must now pay his tax bill in Italy.

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