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Cipollini acquitted of tax fraud

Mario Cipollini at the start of Milan-San Remo

Mario Cipollini at the start of Milan-San Remo (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)

Mario Cipollini has been acquitted of charges of tax fraud by the Court of Appeal in Florence, reversing a decision in the 43-year-old's home town of Lucca which could have seen him imprisoned for 22 months.

The retired former world champion was able to demonstrate that he resided in Monaco during 2003 and 2004, the years he failed to declare his income to the Italian treasury.

"Finally justice has been done," Cipollini said to "I've never cheated the state."

Cipollini has already paid one million euros to the Italian treasury department to settle litigation with the tax authorities.

He isn't the only rider in the recent past to be accused of skirting the Italian tax laws. Both Paolo Bettini and Alessandro Petacchi have faced recent investigations.