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by Mark Zalewski
April 25, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Mitchelton-Scott: How GreenEdge plans to bring Chinese riders, and sponsors, to the WorldTour; Huffman, Wiles win Tour of the Gila; Scarponi to be buried Tuesday, in cycling kit; Impey breaks collarbone in Liege crash; Vansummeren joins Synergy Baku as advisor; Averin suspended for positive maldonium test; Chad Young in stable condition after bad crash at Gila; Meeusen moves up switch from Telenet-Fidea to Beobank Corendon; Lefevere acquitted for tax irregularities involving prize money; Grafton to Inverell to feature women’s category; Black Key Bulls, Kappa Alpha Theta win Little 500 titles; Watch a Little 500 rider exchange; 2017 UCI Women’s WorldTour – Liège-Bastogne-Liège highlights.
Quick-Step Floors CEO Patrick Lefevere was acquitted of tax irregularities, including attempts to evade taxes. The Belgian criminal court in Kortrijk found there was insufficient evidence. Lefevere’s wife was also acquitted.
“We had a strong case, but ultimately it is the judge who decides. I have not heard from my clients, but I suspect they will be very satisfied. A conviction would have irrevocably damaged the team,” said defense lawyer Johan Speecke.
The investigation focused on a Luxembourg company that prosecutors said was set up by the team to evade taxes, primarily for prize money. The court did find there were indeed irregularities in the operation of the cycling team — in particular the company in Luxembourg that was directed from Belgium. As well there was evidence of missing documentation for prize monies paid to riders. However, the court found that this evidence was insufficient to prove intent of tax evasion.
“It is not implausible that it is merely carelessness and ignorance. In addition, the tax benefit is very limited in relation to the turnover turned by the [evidence],” the criminal court said in regards to the acquittal.
Multiple riders, including Tom Boonen, Nico Mattan, Jurgen Van Goolen, Karsten Kroon and Stijn Devolder, who benefited the most from the arrangement, settled with tax authorities earlier to avoid prosecution. Lefevere also eventually settled with the tax authorities. While the amount was not revealed it is believed to be several hundred thousand euros.
Click through to read more at Het Nieuwsblad.