Italian former cyclist Paolo Bettini, officially a resident of Monaco, has been placed under investigation by the Italian tax authorities, who claim that he never actually moved there, and if found guilty he could face an income tax bill of €11 million.
According to Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport, Bettini, winner of the Olympic road race at Athens in 2004 and twice world road champion, has confirmed that he is the subject of a tax investigation that began last year, but only learnt of the sum he may face paying through the media.
The Guardia di Finanza – Italy’s finance police – suspect that that the cyclist’s transfer of domicile to the Principality of Monaco was an accounting device designed purely to allow him to evade the tax he would otherwise have been liable to pay as an Italian resident.
Instead, they believe that Tuscany-born Bettini never actually moved house to Monaco in 2003 as he claimed, and continued to live with his family in Riparbella, near Pisa.
For his part, former Mapei-Quick Step rider Bettini says that he is available to meet with investigators to explain his reasons and clarify the situation.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.