Massimo Cellino has this morning been found guilty of tax evasion by a court in Italy.

The court ruled that Leeds United’s owner failed to pay €15,000 import duty on a Range Rover he’d imported from the United States, finding Cellino guilty of tax evasion and ordering him to pay a fine of €40,000.

This is the second such case Cellino has faced since taking over Leeds United, a club where football news is too often secondary to off-field dramas. The first case returned the same verdict and a €600,000 fine for failing to pay import duty on a yacht, a charge The Football League deemed to be a disqualifying condition under the rules of their Owners’ & Directors’ test, subsequently banning Massimo Cellino from running Leeds United until his sentence was considered spent under UK law.

While The Football League has yet to comment on the outcome of this latest trial, the charge of tax evasion is the same as before, meaning Cellino could face another ban.

Cellino managed to delay his previous ban by appealing The Football League’s decision. A QC ruled that until a written verdict was provided by the Italian courts, there was no way to determine whether Cellino’s charge constituted an ‘act of dishonesty’ as the rather vague Football League rules set out.

However, when the written verdict was finally acquired by The Football League, the Italian judge had made clear she considered the offence to be an act of dishonesty, leaving Cellino with no choice but to step down until the conviction was considered spent. Should The FL ban Cellino again, it’s possible his lawyers will try to appeal on the same grounds, but that might be a waste of everyone’s time since the judge who ruled on the first case, happens to be the same judge who ruled on this one.

From Leeds United’s point of view, the club looks to be better prepared for another Cellino absence than it was last time. Since returning to the club Cellino has made a number of key hires, including the return of Adam Pearson, who’d be the most likely candidate to step into Cellino’s shoes if the Leeds United owner is indeed banned.

  • Ropey Wyla

    Maybe the inevitable ban will be a good thing if indeed Pearson does take command. New players please!

    • RichyM

      We had a bit of a purple patch when MC was in Miami exile. Any more tax cases coming up? I,m sure he don’t pay taxes on his fags :)

  • atombowl

    Here’s a thought, maybe our esteemed chairman could stop being a criminal for five bastard minutes and do the job he claims to be so bloody good at, ie running our sodding football club. He’s obviously worth a bob or two, just pay your fucking tax Massimo.

  • PMH

    The more “running” he does the worse it is for the club. Better for him to be in jail, or exiled to Miami, where he can do the least harm.