Leeds United: Second Cellino tax trial postponed

Massimo Cellino

Massimo Cellino

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Massimo Cellino’s trial over a second Italian tax evasion charge has been delayed until October 22.

The case - in which Leeds United’s owner is accused of failing to pay around £65,000 of import duty owed on a private yacht - was adjourned until later this month at a court hearing in Cagliari today.

The allegations about ‘Lucky 23’ follow on from a previous case in which Cellino was found guilty of avoiding almost £400,000 of tax due on a different boat named ‘Nelie’.

That conviction, which Cellino is currently appealing, led to an unsuccessful attempt by the Football League to block his 75 per cent takeover of Leeds and could yet threaten his ownership under the governing body’s Owners and Directors Test.

Dr Sandra Lepore will hear Cellino’s latest trial in Sardinia in two-and-a-half weeks time. She was also the judge responsible for convicting Cellino of tax evasion back in March.

The League’s bid to block his buy-out of Leeds on the basis of that verdict failed on the grounds that the organisation could not prove his offence was dishonest.

But a written judgement from Lepore, extracts of which were published by The Guardian seven days ago, appeared to suggest that his avoidance of tax on Nelie was a deliberate act.

The League has yet to confirm whether it will re-examine Cellino’s status as fit-and-proper, claiming last week that it was yet to receive a copy of Lepore’s written verdict.

2 November 2013...     Police patrol Elland Road at Leeds United's match with Yeovil. (TJ1001/01d). Picture Tony Johnson

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