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Report: Boonen under investigation for tax evasion

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Tom Boonen heads for the finish line in 2012

Tom Boonen heads for the finish line in 2012 (Image credit: AFP)
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Belgian Champ Tom Boonen does his duty for fans

Belgian Champ Tom Boonen does his duty for fans (Image credit: Sam Dansie)
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National coach Paolo Bettini says hello

National coach Paolo Bettini says hello (Image credit: Luca Bettini)
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Mario Cipollini polarised opinion, but his talent was never in doubt

Mario Cipollini polarised opinion, but his talent was never in doubt (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) is being investigated for tax evasion according to a report in Belgian newspaper De Tijd.

According to the report, the case is currently in the hands of special tax investigators, who are looking into whether Boonen has overstepped the mark in terms of his "tax optimisation" - that beingt as a former resident of the well-known tax haven of Monaco, he allegedly did not declare enough of his income to Belgian authorities. Boonen resided in Monaco from September 2005 until early last year when he returned to Belgium.

Boonen's manager, Paul De Geyter did not respond to the newspaper's queries but Omega Pharma-Quick-Step boss Patrick Lefevere was able to confirm that authorities had previously requested documents regarding Monaco-based cyclists from the team, including Boonen and Gert Steegmans.

"That happened in the aftermath of the tax case against Paolo Bettini," he explained. "But I remember that all documents are requested in 2009 and then I heard nothing more."

Bettini was accused of falsely claiming that his primary residence was in Monaco and was investigated by Italian authorities. Mario Cipollini was acquitted of charges of tax fraud by the Court of Appeal in Florence, reversing an earlier decision which could have seen him imprisoned for 22 months after he failed to declare his income to the Italian treasury.