Davide Rebellin has been charged with tax evasion, with police in Italy estimating that he owes up to 6.5 million euro in unpaid taxes. The veteran recently returned to cycling in the colours of Miche-Guerciotti after serving a two-year suspension for CERA use.
Rebellin was officially a resident in the tax-haven of Monaco for the best part of the past decade, the majority of which (2002-2008) was spent riding with the German Gerolsteiner squad. However, police from Italy’s Guardia di Finanza believe that Rebellin had in fact spent the majority of his time in Galliera Veneta, in the province of Padova in Italy, where he lived in a house registered under the names of his parents-in-law.
Suspicions were raised when two cars with Monaco-registered number plates were spotted regularly in the area, and Rebellin’s movements were then tracked as part of an investigation called “Operation Zero Taxes,” which began in December 2008.
Francesco Sodano, the head of the investigation, explained that Rebellin was regularly shadowed by police while in Galliera Veneta.
“We examined electronic passes for motorway tolls and flights,” he told Il Sole 24 Ore. “Only 2% of Rebellin’s flights landed in Nice [the airport for Monaco – ed.] and in only 7% of his car journeys did he cross the French border.
“We also heard from the painter and the plumber: they did work for the cyclist and his wife, but the invoices were addressed to relatives.”
Even during the period in which he was supposedly resident in Monaco, Rebellin remained a very public figure in his home area near Padova
“He used to go to a gym in Cittadella and he was regular client of shops in Galliera,” Sodano said. “And he was the guest of honour at local parties, kermesses and dinners organised by fan clubs.”
Rebellin has been charged without arrest and the crime is punishable with a custodial sentence of up to three years.
It is understood that Rebellin is currently living in Spain. Shortly before his comeback from suspension, the ANSA news agency reported that he was close to signing for Andalucia Caja Granada and that he “would like to move permanently to Marbella.”
According to Il Sole 24 Ore, police at Rebellin’s house in Galliera found a USB key containing the text of a book entitled “How to pay no taxes – fiscal paradises.”