Two-time MotoGP World Championship runner-up Sete Gibernau is being investigated for tax fraud in his native Spain. Gibernau allegedly evaded tax payments of 2.8 million euros during 2005 and 2006, his last two full seasons in Grand Prix racing.
Gibernau claims he should not have to pay Spanish taxes from that period because his official residence then was in Switzerland. According to Spanish media, Spanish law states residents abroad must pay taxes to their native land's treasury if they live out of the country less than 183 days per year.
Prosecutors are trying to prove Gibernau did not live in Switzerland for 183 days or longer during either year. But Gibernau's ex-wife, model Esther Canadas, testified that Gibernau was not living in Spain during 2005-06, when they were a couple but not yet married.
Gibernau isn't the first prominent MotoGP rider to face the taxman in recent years.
Italian authorities pursued Valentino Rossi for tax evasion in 2002 and 2007, while Rossi had a residence in London. Their case failed in 2002, but Rossi paid a settlement of 20 million euros in early 2008 to settle the second case.
Fellow MotoGP star Loris Capirossi had to pay a 2 million-euro fine to the Italian treasury in 2010 for back taxes while he had another residence in Monaco.
Several American and Australian GP riders have faced the wrath of the IRS in the last few decades, including one rider who never paid--or filed--a tax return during his career until an IRS agent came to his house one morning.