Former Aston Villa footballer John Carew is jailed for 14 months for crimes of tax evasion, after he unwittingly failed to disclose his earnings at Oslo District Court.
Carew, 43, was also fined a hefty £45,353 (NOK 540,000) for tax evasion totaling £456,264 (NOK 5.4 million) in his home country of Norway.
Carew’s sentence could have been doubled had the court found the former Premier League star acted intentionally to avoid paying his taxes.
If Carew had acted intentionally by committing tax evasion between 2017 and 2019, prosecutors would have estimated that an appropriate sentence for Carew would have been a prison term of approximately two years and seven months, while his defendants wanted a community sentence.
In the 38-page judgment, the court found Carew acted with “gross negligence”, but finds it cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the 43-year-old provided incorrect information to the Norwegian tax authorities.
“From the evidence presented, the court cannot see that there is cover for Carew’s decision not to disclose his income and assets, even though the description of the offense was so met,” the judge said. of the Ingvild Boe Hornburg District Court in the judgment. “In the opinion of the court, there is nothing in the evidence to support such an assumption.”
The Norwegian had previously pleaded guilty to fraud charges brought by the Norwegian tax authority, with his defense lawyer Berit Reiss-Andersen insisting the case should have been treated as a confession case given that he admitted tax evasion but maintained throughout that he had not intentionally committed fraud.
Former Aston Villa and Norway striker John Carew is jailed for tax evasion
The former striker was also hit with a hefty £45,353 (NOK 540,000) fine for tax evasion.
Carew’s attorney also believes the decision should be seen as a victory.
“It shows that John Carew is believed on all counts,” Berit Reiss-Andersen said in a statement, via Norwegian media. E24. “The court found that he acted with gross negligence, but not with intent. We’ve always said that, and Carew has made it clear that he wants to make amends.
The report goes on to say that neither party has decided whether or not to appeal the judgment.
He also claims that a so-called 183-day rule was used against Carew in his tax evasion case.
If you are a taxable resident abroad, which Carew has been since 2000, the person cannot stay in Norway longer than 183 days.
Evidence has been presented against Carew claiming he exceeded that threshold for six consecutive years from 2014 to 2019, with the now-retired footballer’s bank card transactions being monitored. Carew did not dispute this evidence.
Ex-Aston Villa frontman says he didn’t want to avoid disclosing his assets
The former Norway international himself claimed his actions were the result of bad advice from friend, lawyer and former agent Per A. Flod.
Carew insists Flod’s advice resulted in him not disclosing income and assets from outside his home country, saying he was ‘controlled like a puppet’.
“I blindly trusted him,” Carew said. “I was convinced he was right. He controlled me almost like a puppet.
“I understand it’s a gross negligence of me to trust him so much, but that’s why I did it.”
The prosecution claimed that Carew had numerous opportunities to correct information provided to authorities, but chose not to.
Police attorney Ragna Flaekoy Skjakodegard said last month: ‘Carew had very many opportunities to correct the information provided to the tax authorities.
The 43-year-old has spent over 15 years as a professional footballer but only three and a half of them have been spent in his home country.
The 43-year-old is perhaps best known for his time in the Premier League with Villa
As such, the overwhelming majority of his earnings have been made abroad, having turned out for Valencia, Rome, Lyon and Besiktas.
However, the now-retired striker is perhaps best known for his time in the Premier League, playing for Aston Villa for four years, West Ham for one, and spending half a season on loan at Stoke.
Additionally, Carew has represented his country 91 times, scoring 24 times, and was awarded Norwegian Footballer of the Year three times between 2005 and 2008.