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Dr Michele Ferrari leaves a tribunal in Bologna, Italy in 2004.
Padua charges upheld
Italy’s Supreme Court of Cassation has upheld the offences of doping, money laundering and tax evasion listed by the Padua-based investigation into the activities of Dr. Michele Ferrari and the agent Raimondo Scimone.
In a decree issued on October 9, the Supreme Court also rejected Scimone’s appeal to have his case moved from Italy to Switzerland on the basis that that most of the alleged offences had taken place there.
Scimone is accused of having created falsified image rights contracts for riders to aid them in evading taxes. According to Gazzetta dello Sport, the preliminary investigation judge in Padua ordered the seizure of almost €26,000 from Scimone, while other sums were seized from the riders Michele Scarponi, Vladimir Gusev, Denis Menchov and Vladimir Karpets. Gazzetta also notes that the taxes allegedly evaded by Scarponi in 2006 and by Gusev in 2009 amount to a total of €240,000.
The Supreme Court declared the seizure of the funds to be legitimate and dismissed Scimone’s attempt to contest the charge on the basis that he never had material possession of the riders’ money. “Acting as an intermediary in the placement of money or other assets for a third party in a way that hides its illicit origin constitutes ‘formal’ possession of goods on the part of the launderer,” the court ruled, according to Gazzetta.
The Padua-based investigation into Dr. Ferrari’s activities began in 2010 and is led by public prosecutor Benedetto Roberti. The doping and money laundering probe is reported to have uncovered a series of contracts and secret payments totalling €30 million.
As well as facing criminal charges in Italy, Ferrari has also been charged with doping by the United States Anti-Doping Agency as part of its investigation into Lance Armstrong and his former US Postal team, and given a lifetime ban.