Football League and Leeds United stay silent on Cellino conviction

Massimo Cellino.
Massimo Cellino.
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THE FOOTBALL League have confirmed that they will be making no comment regarding Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino’s conviction for tax evasion on a Range Rover and 40,000 Euros fine until they have seen formal documentation from the case.

Meanwhile, Leeds have also said they are making no comment following club owner Cellino’s conviction for failing to pay VAT of 16,000 Euros on an imported Range Rover in a court in Cagliari,

Cellino was found guilty of tax evasion this morning, but was acquitted of customs offences because estimates of the Range Rover’s value fell below the threshold of criminal liability.

Cellino may now face investigation by the Football League to establish whether this latest conviction was confirmed by the court judge to be a dishonest act.

The same judge in Cagliari, Dr Sandra Lepore, convicted Cellino of tax evasion in relation to his yacht, Nelie, last year and fined him 600,000 euros.

Under the rules of their Owners and Directors Test, Cellino was subsequently banned from running United last December, with the Italian failing to overturn his disqualification at a Football League hearing in January.

He subsequently resigned as club president after losing his appeal against the league’s decision to disqualify him as a “relevant owner” until April.

The ban was then extended until the end of the season following Cellino’s failure to disclose court documents, which had confirmed non-payment of tax on Nelie had been a dishonesty act.

Cellino returned to office at Leeds following the expiry of his ban on May 3 and has since had his Leeds ownership status approved by the League.

He is currently appealing against his disqualification through the Football Association’s arbitration process.

Cellino’s legal team claimed the guilty verdict against him in Italy over his yacht Nelie should not be classed as a formal conviction until it has passed through three stages of appeal, an argument which was turned down when he challenged his League disqualification earlier this year.

The former Cagliari owner also faces a separate court hearing in Italy for tax evasion in relation to a second yacht, Lucky 23, in October.

That case was adjourned until October 16 earlier this month.

News website Cagliaripad reported the yacht Lucky 23 had been imported from the US to Italy in a container in May 2011 and that Cellino had been charged with failing to pay 84,122 euros on tax duty.