Monday, April 20, 2009

Helio Castroneves Found Not Guilty In Tax-Evasion Trial

The ongoing case of Indy 500 champion Helio Castroneves has finally ended. The jurors found Mr. Castroneves not guilty of the tax evasion charges he was facing. Check out the following snippet from the on the recent decision.

Indy 500 champ Helio Castroneves survived a potentially devastating crash Friday, acquitted of tax-evasion charges by jurors who struggled for six days to unravel complex evidence on racing-car contracts, tax law and offshore companies.

In the end, jurors found Castroneves and sister Katiucia not guilty on six counts of evading taxes on $5.5 million from race car earnings. The pair sobbed and hugged each other after hearing the decision.

The 12-member Miami federal jury deadlocked on the lead conspiracy charge against the siblings, which prompted U.S. District Judge Donald Graham to declare a mistrial on that count.

The jury also acquitted the Brazilian race car star's sports attorney, Alan R. Miller, on the main conspiracy charge and three other tax evasion counts. Miller was not charged in three other counts of the indictment.

With his legal victory, Castroneves was scheduled to fly immediately from South Florida to California to compete in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach for Penske Racing, the team that hired him in late 1999. His contract with the legendary racing organization -- the big break in a career that began as a teenager go-cart racing in Brazil -- was at the core of the government's tax-evasion case.

Flanked by attorneys and an entourage of friends, Castroneves emerged from the downtown federal courthouse, his eyes swollen and red.

He showed off a rosary, proclaimed his faith and interviewed with both U.S. and Brazilian press.

''It's been a nightmare, and finally we wake up,'' said Castroneves, 33, who was sidelined from IndyCar racing during his legal ordeal. ``Instead of going to Disneyland, I want to go to Long Beach and race.''

And then he was off, jumping into a black Porsche Cayenne SUV to take him to Miami International Airport.

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