We here at open paddock have yet to really comment about the ongoing tax evasion trial of Helio Castroneves. Taxes are a boring subject and one that I am loathe to comment on this time of year since I just sent my check in to the government this week. But now that the trial is over and jury deliberations have been taking place since last Friday, it is time for us to break our silence.
Jury deliberations are over for the day, but the jury has returned verdicts an several of the charges against Helio, Katucia (his sister) and Alan Miller (his attorney). However, the jury also informed the judge today that they are unable to reach an unanimous verdict on several of the charges facing the three.
The jury reached a verdict on two of the charges against Helio but were unable to reach a decision on the remaining five charges, including the most damaging charge of conspiracy to defraud the US government. As for Helio’s sister, the jury reached verdicts on one charge but remained undecided on the other six against her. Lastly for Alan Miller, the jury has reached verdicts on the four charges brought against Alan Miller.
The judge was unwilling to declare a hung jury this early so he has ordered the jury to continue deliberations to see if they can resolve to unanimity on all charges. The verdicts that the jury returned today will remain sealed until all the decisions are in.
While the details of the case are supremely fascinating to legal nerds, the jury was reportedly falling asleep at times during the 6-week long trial. Wrapping your head around the ins and outs of what constitutes possession of the funds that Helio had originally intended to be sent to a Panamanian tax shelter but later decided to have sent to a dutch deferred payment account is mind boggling. The defense claims the originally intended Panamanian company was owned by Helio’s father, but the prosecution claims it was owned by Helio himself.
Whatever the case, the US government claims that Helio owes over 2.3 million dollars from the deferred payment dutch account, as well as unpaid taxes on a licensing deal with Coimex. On top of that, there is also concern that Helio never paid taxes free items like clothing from one of his sponsors, Hugo Boss and free flights.
Roger Penske has stated that if Helio is cleared of the charges against him, then Helio will have a car ready to go for him. We will wait and see what the results of the trial before we opine too much on what we have seen today.