List of tax cheating ProCyclists

May 5, 2009
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Thought I place this in the clinic, as it concerns cheating, though not in the race, but in real life. Triggered by today's article in L'Essentiel, where they quote that Andy's Cyclan and Fränk's Winfrank collect the riders image rights in tax-cheater-heavens Panama and Singapore, I thought I start a list of tax-optimising/evading or better dubbed tax-cheating cyclists:

Paolo Bettini
Davide Rebellin
Mario Cipollini
Fränk Schleck*
Andy Schleck*

*not officially convicted (yet?) in contrast to the other riders
 
May 11, 2009
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If it is legal then is it cheating?

Perhaps due to riders corporations being set-up offshoe is what leads teams and their banks to worry about money laundering (e.g. the recent RSNT payment issues).

I don't know about cyclists but many pro tennis players set up residence in low tax countries.
 
Aug 3, 2009
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don't get the point of this threat? they optimize fiscally their income like millions of businessmen/sportsmen/artists do. so why point fingers? The swiss are not the best placed to give the worlds lessons regarding this...
 
Aug 3, 2009
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avanti said:
Perhaps due to riders corporations being set-up offshoe is what leads teams and their banks to worry about money laundering (e.g. the recent RSNT payment issues).

I don't know about cyclists but many pro tennis players set up residence in low tax countries.
The money laundering seems quite bogus. Under Lux Law you have to identify the ultimate beneficial owner of the payment, which should be possible for the concerned riders to prove. If not the structure is overly complicated or their accountants (the riders this is) are just sloppy providing basic documentation.
 
May 31, 2011
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the idea of luxembourg accusing anyone of tax evasion after all the tax income they deprive the uk of is a joke.

**** tax havens.
 
Oct 25, 2010
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My understanding from a former roommate of mine (who worked in France for an ad agency) was that the French have a short statute of limitations on non-payment of taxes, and that many French people stick their money in Luxembourg (as he did) so as to wait-out that time period.

Cheating is in the eye of the nation, I'm afraid.
 
May 5, 2009
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avanti said:
If it is legal then is it cheating?
In the case of the Italian riders quoted above, it was not legal and they were either convicted and/or had to pay large fines in addition to the evaded income being taxed. For Andy and Fränk, it needs to be seen. Considering they are well connected in Lux, they might get through it.

As they are not living or riding neither in Panama nor Singapore and as it must be assumed for the article these are payments by RSN in favour of the riders paid to a legal entity, it is obvious that it is tax cheating. If these legal entities had either actual business operations in those exotic countries incl. employees or the entities were based in a country where Andy/Frank live for a substantial part of a tax year or generate income, it would be different. (At least that's the rule in a number of European countries, don't know the particular regulations for Lux though)

avanti said:
I don't know about cyclists but many pro tennis players set up residence in low tax countries.
Unfortunately, that's true, I am aware of quite a few number of absolute top tennis players that direct substantial parts of their (particularly sponsoring/advertisement) income streams to letterbox companies in other exotic locations such as Cayman, Bahamas, Aruba, Bermuda and also Channel Islands (not even LOW tax but mostly NO tax). It is really disgusting, considering that sponsoring is taken out of the pocket of the consumer (middle class) and cheated from taxing while the middle class fairly pays its taxes... whatever.

Roude Leiw said:
don't get the point of this threat?
I like lists and statistics a lot! :) So for example like I created a thread for listing cyclists with a cross or mountainbike background here's just another one :D

Roude Leiw said:
they optimize fiscally their income like millions of businessmen/sportsmen/artists do. so why point fingers?
I agree with you, that cyclists as an aggregate are ridicolous, compared to bizmen/athletes/artists, etc. But tax cheating is exactly a significant problem in today's society. Armies of lawyers are just consistently looking for loopholes or creative or deceptive structures to cheat taxes. Taxes that governments particularly nowadays urgently and desperately need in order that it's not getting worse. (not to mention that these govies/politicians in need of tax income to fix our countries budgets are mostly the buddies of many tax "optimisers" like you formulated it and their [gov./polit.] reckless spending frenzies without carefully thinking about the next generations has been even more responsible for this mess).

Roude Leiw said:
The swiss are not the best placed to give the worlds lessons regarding this...
I am just listing facts, not trying to give a lesson, although I can't stand cheating, whether in cycling, sports in general or real life incl. taxes. But to be honest, the list seems to be pretty modest, which is a good sign, not?

Roude Leiw said:
The swiss are not the best placed to give the worlds lessons regarding this...
There were definitely days until about 15 to 20 years ago, during which banks domiciled in Switzerland recklessly accepted any kind of money, whether black or white. Interestingly, not just Swiss banks, but like in all offshore heavens, banks resident in numerous and different countries did set up their laundering operations here.

In the meantime however, laws and regulations have changed dramatically. While there might of course still be a lot of black and not taxed money around (considering that it is estimated that more than 50% of the liquid net worth assets of the global population is sitting on accounts with Swiss privat banks), it is almost impossible today to launder money or ship untaxed money to Switzerland. Actually, you have to be an idiot to do that. But of course, tax cheaters get increasingly more creative and unfortunately might always find new loopholes and tricks to evade.

Today, for private individuals trust structures, particularly in the channel islands, but also entities in Delaware are quite safe and primary locations do hide black money or ship it to.

On the other hand, Switzerland is increasingly more used by large global corporates to set up holding companies or headquarters. This was also the case for a few well known companies in the cycling industry recently, such as Specialized or Scott. Of course, like many global corporates, they process significantly more cash flow through these operations than appropriate. Let's hope that lawmakers and tax authorities wake up here as well.

But as Swiss citizen, you're anyway f..ked. If you are the beneficial owner of an offshore entity without substance (i.e. real business operations and employees), Swiss tax authorities will tax you for this offshore income as if it were Swiss income. Additionally, they are preparing to remove the banking secrecy for Swiss citizen's accounts held with banks subject to Swiss jurisdiction. Total government control here we come.

T_S_A_R said:
the idea of luxembourg accusing anyone of tax evasion after all the tax income they deprive the uk of is a joke.

**** tax havens.
Talking UK tax heavens, let's talk about Channel Islands or UK trust structures :D
 
May 14, 2010
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Does lowering your tax, legally or illegally, confer an unfair advantage on the road? If you pay less to the state, are you more likely to win a race? No? Then, IMO, this is, A) out of place in the Clinic, and, B) none of our business.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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la.margna said:
Thought I place this in the clinic, as it concerns cheating, though not in the race, but in real life. Triggered by today's article in L'Essentiel, where they quote that Andy's Cyclan and Fränk's Winfrank collect the riders image rights in tax-cheater-heavens Panama and Singapore, I thought I start a list of tax-optimising/evading or better dubbed tax-cheating cyclists:

Paolo Bettini
Davide Rebellin
Mario Cipollini
Fränk Schleck
Andy Schleck
I know of Cipo, but am I conflating Peta with Cipo too?

I think Peta may have squirreled money monaco
 
Oct 22, 2009
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Isn;t the significance of this - and the relevance to this sub-forum - that money squirrelled away into tax havens can then be used to pay dodgy dope-docs in an anonymous, untraceable manner?
 
Jul 13, 2010
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unclem0nty said:
Isn;t the significance of this - and the relevance to this sub-forum - that money squirrelled away into tax havens can then be used to pay dodgy dope-docs in an anonymous, untraceable manner?
You don't need a tax haven for that, just an account that doesn't have your (real) name on it.
 
May 5, 2009
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2008885 said:
You don't need a tax haven for that, just an account that doesn't have your (real) name on it.
To my knowledge, Austria was the only country where this was possible until a few years ago. Good luck finding a bank opening nowadays an account on another name then your real one! That's why they use entities, foundations or trusts. But even there, the jurisdictions, where you don't have to disclose the beneficial owner are luckily almost non-existent anymore (in the case of entities), whereas trusts and foundations unfortunately still allow many cheating variations.
 
Jul 13, 2010
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la.margna said:
To my knowledge, Austria was the only country where this was possible until a few years ago. Good luck finding a bank opening nowadays an account on another name then your real one! That's why they use entities, foundations or trusts. But even there, the jurisdictions, where you don't have to disclose the beneficial owner are luckily almost non-existent anymore (in the case of entities), whereas trusts and foundations unfortunately still allow many cheating variations.
Lol - I'm not saying that you should walk into your local bank and say, "I want to open an account in the name of M.Mouse", you'd need to be more, er, discreet!
 
Jul 10, 2012
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The United States became an independent nation mostly because people didn't want to pay their taxes to King George -- does that mean we should give our country back to England?
 
Apr 13, 2010
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la.margna said:
Thought I place this in the clinic, as it concerns cheating, though not in the race, but in real life. Triggered by today's article in L'Essentiel, where they quote that Andy's Cyclan and Fränk's Winfrank collect the riders image rights in tax-cheater-heavens Panama and Singapore, I thought I start a list of tax-optimising/evading or better dubbed tax-cheating cyclists:

Paolo Bettini
Davide Rebellin
Mario Cipollini
Fränk Schleck
Andy Schleck
Sorry Margna, but it's highly problematic in my eyes to specifically list people as tax frauds purely based on insinuations from their employer - especially since there are several, very public, stories about said employer's own financial dealings.

Also there's a very big difference between legal tax optimisation and illegal evasion. The fact you separate the two by a mere slash is not helping your post.

I know this is the clinic and I know there's a lot of unsubstantiated rumours and pure speculation being made into "proof" of doping. However, this is very much crossing the line in my book...
 
la.margna said:
But as Swiss citizen, you're anyway f..ked.
Same thing if you are just a resident in this canton.

Plus, when you make you tax return, if you make a mistake against yourself, the taxpayer, you only have 30 days to file a complaint after you receive the final bill, while if if goes the other way the tax authorities can go back 10 years, i.e. 120 times longer, to claim their due.

People outside this country don't have a clue how heavily taxed we are in this canton. Taxed on your retirement income, taxed on your lifetime savings, taxed on the estimated rental value of your house (considered as an income :)) if you are lucky enough to own one.

When I get fed up I'll move south somewhere.
 
May 5, 2009
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JPM London said:
Sorry Margna, but it's highly problematic in my eyes to specifically list people as tax frauds purely based on insinuations from their employer - especially since there are several, very public, stories about said employer's own financial dealings.
Do you agree with me, that neither Fränk, nor Andy live more than 180 days a year Singapore or Panama or work there? Ok. Then you have the answer, from the ethic perspective.

JPM London said:
Also there's a very big difference between legal tax optimisation and illegal evasion. The fact you separate the two by a mere slash is not helping your post.
Ethically, there's no difference at all. The difference is just that if you have enough money, you can hire the appropriate lawyers to structure a setup that might be technically fine or use a legal loophole in order not be considered tax cheating. It's like if Lance gets away due to a technicality or a loophole. I know he's a cheat, and I don't give a f..k wheter he is convicted or not. Ethically, there's no difference.

[/QUOTE]I know this is the clinic and I know there's a lot of unsubstantiated rumours and pure speculation being made into "proof" of doping. However, this is very much crossing the line in my book...[/QUOTE]
The Italian riders listed were all convicted for tax cheating. These are facts.

With regard to the frères, I do not know the particular regulations in Luxembourg, but if the brothers would live here in my country and subject to the regulations here, the situation would be clear without the slightest doubt. They can be lucky, that they are in Lux and well connected, it wouldn't be funny if the IRS were after them... :D
 
Apr 13, 2010
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la.margna said:
Do you agree with me, that neither Fränk, nor Andy live more than 180 days a year Singapore or Panama or work there? Ok. Then you have the answer, from the ethic perspective.
I'm fairly sure they don't, but I haven't checked their whereabouts forms :)
OTOH I don't either know that's what they claim or that's where their companies are based. Having a foreign based company is not necessarily the same as tax evasion (the illegal practice), however giving false statements about your country of residence would no doubt be. So far the only thing I've heard is that Leopard claims lack of documentation as an excuse to not pay out salaries and/or rights fees. Also note there's a difference between a salary for performing a job and a payment for the use of image rights - while nobody else can ride the bike for either of the Schlecks, the rights to their images and other rights can easily be held by a company, trust etc.

I'm not saying I know there's not tax fraud going on, just saying the only thing that created the whispers in the first place was the very unprofessional, public insinuations from a company repeatedly said to be in a very considerable financial turmoil.

Thus lumping the Schlecks in with the others on your list is a stretch to me...

la.margna said:
Ethically, there's no difference at all. The difference is just that if you have enough money, you can hire the appropriate lawyers to structure a setup that might be technically fine or use a legal loophole in order not be considered tax cheating. It's like if Lance gets away due to a technicality or a loophole. I know he's a cheat, and I don't give a f..k wheter he is convicted or not. Ethically, there's no difference.
I beg to differ - and yet agree a bit. There's a host of methods for either evasion or optimisation. Just because something is technically legal doesn't make it ethically right - completely agree. However, just because there's an instrument available that can lower your tax liability it doesn't automatically become un-ethical to employ it because there might be other, un-ethical ways to lower your tax. Even if the same instrument can be used in ethical as well as un-ethical ways doesn't make it so. Pension plans, investment schemes, corporate entities can all be used in more or less ethical ways - and more or less legal ways...

la.margna said:
The Italian riders listed were all convicted for tax cheating. These are facts.

With regard to the frères, I do not know the particular regulations in Luxembourg, but if the brothers would live here in my country and subject to the regulations here, the situation would be clear without the slightest doubt. They can be lucky, that they are in Lux and well connected, it wouldn't be funny if the IRS were after them... :D
Which was my point exactly - you're lumping two people who you really don't know about in with other people who are convicted for the crime (I haven't checked, but assume your information is correct). That's my problem...

Again, you're concluding they have actually done something that is not onyl ethically wrong, but also illegal with your final remarks. Again, I've seen claims but nothing reported to back it up...
 

ianfra

BANNED
Mar 10, 2009
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Its amazing how many people want to nitpick and find fault with everything. One serious question: How many people posting about cyclists avoiding tax have avoided tax themselves, cheated on expenses and so on. I've done it and so have most people, methinks. No. This is a forum about drug use in the peloton. Unfortunately it is also a forum to attack riders unfairly. If we all stuck to the real issue then we could collectively help clean up the remaining bits of cheating in our sport. Someone did that in the UK by grassing up a 2nd rater who was using EPO - well done. If this board could expose people who are actually cheating then it would be a useful forum. Unfortunately it simply makes a lot of assumptions, adds 2 + 2 and makes 5 or 6 or more and call peeps who dare question the justice of it all 'trolls'. So we could all start by asking the mods to close this thread and start to concentrate on the real issues.
 
ianfra said:
So we could all start by asking the mods to close this thread and start to concentrate on the real issues.
If you don't like a thread, ignore it. Start another thread in which you discuss the issues near and dear to your heart. If others want to discuss this issue, why should they be denied that opportunity?

Susan
 
Aug 3, 2009
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la.margna said:
Ethically, there's no difference at all. The difference is just that if you have enough money, you can hire the appropriate lawyers to structure a setup that might be technically fine or use a legal loophole in order not be considered tax cheating.
You ride a very high horse here. Tax laws of the countrys are what they are. You can argue until the sun sets if the tax law is fair or not for a given person, but that discussion would be more appropriate on some accountants forum.


la.margna said:
With regard to the frères, I do not know the particular regulations in Luxembourg, but if the brothers would live here in my country and subject to the regulations here, the situation would be clear without the slightest doubt. They can be lucky, that they are in Lux and well connected, it wouldn't be funny if the IRS were after them... :D
The tax law for Lux residents (as they are), is not much different than for our neighboring countries. There are a certain number of possibilities to reduce tax liabilities. Meseems that they are riding on the logic of selling their image rights, so technically i suppose this is not a salary, but at the end of the day i do not want to speculate about it without having seen the actual file they have
 
Aug 3, 2009
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JPM London said:
Sorry Margna, but it's highly problematic in my eyes to specifically list people as tax frauds purely based on insinuations from their employer - especially since there are several, very public, stories about said employer's own financial dealings.
I second this. Take the example of Thor Hushovd or Philippe Gilbert, both residents of Monaco. Is this only for tax puposes or could you also argue (which I think is a factor) that training conditions (like e.g. weather) is better there than in say Norway or Belgium.

What about Greipel? Why does he live in Switzerland? Better training conditions and nearer to where the races happen than in his native eastern germany or tax optimization?

Naming a list of people without knowing their reasons is simply not correct.
 

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