Davide Rebellin’s trial for tax evasion, which began in Padua last week, has been adjourned until next year. Il Giornale di Vicenza reports that the prosecution witnesses will be heard in April, while the defence will present its case on July 10, 2014.
Rebellin was charged with tax evasion in June 2011, shortly after his return to cycling from a two-year suspension following a positive test for CERA at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The prosecution maintains that Rebellin – who at 42 years of age remains in the professional peloton with CCC Polsat – owes the Italian state up to €2.5 million in unpaid taxes dating from 2002 to 2007.
While Rebellin was officially resident in Monaco during that period, the prosecution believes that he 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 in the names of his parents-in-law.
As was reported by Il Sole 24 Ore in 2011, police from Italy’s Guardia di Finanza tracked Rebellin’s movements as part of an investigation called “Operation Zero Taxes,” which began in December 2008.
They found that only 2% of Rebellin’s flights landed in Nice, the airport for Monaco, and only 7% of his car journeys took him across the French border. He was also alleged to have a gym membership in Cittadella and was regularly seen training on the roads near Marostica.
Il Giornale di Vicenza notes that Siro Scapin, a Galliera-based fruit vendor, has admitted that Rebellin and his wife were regular customers, while a search of Rebellin’s house uncovered a USB stick containing a PDF copy of a book entitled “How to Pay Zero Taxes – Fiscal Paradises.”
Rebellin has denied the charges.
In a recent interview with Cycling Pro magazine (a video of which can be viewed here), Rebellin spoke of desire to try and win one of the Ardennes classics next season. He was the first rider to complete the hat-trick of Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2004, but his teams have not been invited to the races since his return from suspension two years ago.
In spite of his positive test for CERA, Rebellin has never confessed to doping and told Cycling Pro that he views himself as “an example for many parents and their children.”