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Race driver Castroneves heads to court in tax case

  Tax  -   POSTED: 2008/10/03 15:28

Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner and "Dancing With the Stars" champion Helio Castronoves was set to appear in court Friday to face allegations he used offshore accounts to hide millions of dollars in income from the Internal Revenue Service.

The 33-year-old driver was indicted Thursday on charges of conspiracy and six counts of tax evasion for purportedly failing to report to the IRS about $5.5 million in income between 1999 and 2004, according to court documents. Each count carries a maximum five-year prison sentence.

One of his attorneys, David Garvin, said he was disappointed that the tax dispute could not be resolved without criminal charges.

"Helio has always done the appropriate thing and hired accountants and attorneys he relied upon," Garvin said. "We are of the strong belief that he did not do anything wrong. We're looking forward to going to court."

Castroneves, a native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, has won the Indianapolis 500 twice and finished second this year in the IndyCar Series points standings. He and partner Julianne Hough won the 2007 "Dancing with the Stars" TV reality show competition on ABC.

The indictment charges that Castroneves illegally concealed income from Penske Racing Inc. and the Brazilian firm Coimex International S.A. Neither company is charged with any wrongdoing.

Also facing charges are Katiucia Castroneves, the driver's sister and business manager, and attorney Alan R. Miller of Birmingham, Mich. They also were scheduled to make court appearances Friday.

Miller's attorney, Michael Tein, said prosecutors acted "recklessly" in bringing the charges and said Miller has always had "an absolutely stellar" legal reputation.


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