Valentino Rossi: 'More serene' after paying his tax bill
[AFP] 
Seven-time motorcycling world champion Valentino Rossi paid about $27.6 million to settle a dispute with Italian tax authorities.

The figure could rise to $50.9 million when his 2005-06 earnings are also taken into consideration, the ANSA news agency reported.

"I'm much more serene now. Everything is much clearer, and I can concentrate on my work,'' Rossi said after exiting the tax agency in his hometown.

Italy's tax agency announced in August that it was investigating Rossi, the country's highest paid athlete, for possible undeclared earnings of ¤60 million (US$87.3 million) from 2000-04.

The agency said Rossi, who has been a British resident since 2000, allegedly did not declare revenues from sponsors and his team to either British or Italian authorities during that period.

Rossi has said his accountants assured him that he had complied with the law.

"I reached a fork in the road,'' Rossi said.

"I could have fought this, and I could have won or lost, but it would have taken a very long time.''

Rossi added that he has decided to live in Italy again.

"London is a very interesting city, but spending more time with my family and my friends has become of greater importance considering all my affairs around the world,'' Rossi said, adding that he would declare his taxes for 2007 in Italy.

Source: Agencies