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Taxman targets Vasco Rossi's yacht

Rocker suspected of using fake charter company to evade taxes

12 August, 15:13
Taxman targets Vasco Rossi's yacht (ANSA) - Rome, August 12 - Italian rocker Vasco Rossi is among a slew of Italians who have come into the sights of the country's tax collection agency for setting up fictitious charter companies to pay less taxes on their yachts.

Tax inspectors have been on the offensive this summer in ports up and down Italy trying to crack down on this form of tax evasion.

In Rossi's case, his 24m yacht, which only he uses, is registered to a brokerage firm of which he hold a stake of over 90%, the rest in the hands of partners who are resident in Switzerland.

Also caught up in this latest offensive was comic actor Massimo Boldi, whose yacht is registered with a company controlled entirely by him and his daughter.

Last May former Formula One motor racing boss Flavio Briatore had his 62-metre yacht, registered in the Caymen Islands, seized by authorities for allegedly violating European Union regulations governing the payment of VAT on fuels. The British Virgin Island company that officially owns the yacht, which the ex-Renault team principal appears to have had exclusive use of, was placed under investigation.

According to EU regulations, yachts registered outside the EU may only avoid paying fuel tax if they leave EU waters within eight hours of refuelling.

Police were reported to have monitored the ship's movements for a over year and determined that it may be liable for more than half a million euros in unpaid fuel duties. If it is determined that Briatore is the actual owner of the yacht, or that the company which owns it is actually European, then about four million euros in unpaid VAT would have to be paid on its estimated worth of some 20 million euros.

A judge in June authorised the chartering of the boat this summer but ordered than it remain in the Mediterranean for the duration of the probe and eventual trial.

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