Helio pleads “not guilty”

Posted by Iannucci | 10/03/2008 | 12 comments »
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This story confirms that Helio will not be participating in the Surfer’s Paradise event later this month, although that’s kind of a minor issue given everything else.

Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner and TV "Dancing With The Stars" champion Helio Castroneves pleaded not guilty Friday to charges that he used offshore accounts to evade U.S. taxes on more than $5 million in income.

The 33-year-old race car driver, who appeared in court in handcuffs and leg chains, was ordered released on $10 million bail. His lawyer, Mark Seiden, said Castroneves would depart later in the afternoon for a weekend race in Atlanta.

"We would enter a plea of not guilty," said Seiden, standing alongside a visibly shaken and frowning Castroneves.

Terms of Castroneves' release allow him to travel for work in the United States but not abroad, meaning he will likely miss a race later this month in Australia, Seiden said.

(MORE from Associated Press)
Excuse me, but what did that say? Not to discount the severity of the felonies for which he stands accused, but $10 million for bail and leg chains for tax evasion? Good grief, this is Helio Castroneves, not Jeffrey Dahmer.

As if this isn't enough for race fans, those of you who also happen to watch stock car races should be aware of the following.

Jimmie Johnson said Friday he was “shocked” to learn of the tax-evasion charges made against his friend and attorney Alan Miller.

Miller, a prominent attorney who represents several NASCAR drivers, including Johnson and Casey Mears, was indicted Thursday for allegedly helping IndyCar Series driver Helio Castroneves hide millions of dollars in income.

(MORE from SceneDaily)
I'm sorry, I can't muster any humor right now. Your humble host needs to fall back on the Cohen Brothers at a time such as this.


  1. Unknown // October 03, 2008 1:57 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  2. pressdog // October 03, 2008 1:59 PM  

    (Sorry for the false start above.) The Federalis don't play. You bust the federal tax laws, you get a perp walk in festive bracelets and leg chains. Standard procedure, I'd bet. Bail is probably 10MIL since he's accused of stealing 5MIL. If it was, say, $1 million Helio cold bolt to Argentina with the $5 mil and call it good. Just an idea. This is serious ca-ca.

  3. Anonymous // October 03, 2008 2:15 PM  

    His passport had to be surrendered. Although it's probably not impossible (I don't think - I certainly haven't tried it and have never had the need) to leave the country without a passport, I'm sure he was on the list before they left the courthouse. And since the Brazilian Federal Police Force was involved in the investigation, according to the Department of Justice in their press release, I don't think Brazil could now be a destination.

    It's a very sorry state of affairs. And I'm very, very disappointed in Helio in even placing himself in a situation where such charges could be brought by a Grand Jury, regardless of the eventual outcome. As I'd read in another post elsewhere, you come to our country to make lots and lots of money, and our laws state that you have to pay tax on that money, then you pay the tax. And if you don't, this is the outcome.

  4. Anonymous // October 03, 2008 3:01 PM  

    Your humble host needs to fall back on the Cohen Brothers at a time such as this.

    Parole Board chairman: They've got a name for people like you Helio. That name is called "recidivism."
    Parole Board member: Repeat offender!
    Parole Board chairman: Not a pretty name, is it Helio?
    Helio.: No, sir. That's one bonehead name, but that ain't me any more.
    Parole Board chairman: You're not just telling us what we want to hear?
    Helio.: No, sir, no way.
    Parole Board member: 'Cause we just want to hear the truth.
    Helio: Well, then I guess I am telling you what you want to hear.
    Parole Board chairman: Boy, didn't we just tell you not to do that?
    Helio: Yes, sir.
    Parole Board chairman: Okay, then.

  5. Anonymous // October 03, 2008 4:10 PM  

    This is all just a big misunderstanding. All this time the taxes were being paid under the name Castro-Neves, and the feds never made the connection :-)

    Why doesn't it surprise me this lawyer is connected to Rick Hendrick?

  6. Anonymous // October 03, 2008 7:49 PM  

    Welcome to 16th and Georgetown has video up of Helio after he posted bail today. It's great use the sidepod link and go take a look !

  7. Jennifer Coomer // October 03, 2008 8:22 PM  

    the thought of helio standing handcuffed, shackled, and crying in court just breaks my heart.

  8. Carrie // October 03, 2008 9:49 PM  

    Anon: Give it a freakin' rest. If you consider Miller "connected" with Rick Hendrick just because he's Jimmie & Casey's attorney, you may as well consider him "connected" to everyone in the IRL.

    Or gee, what about all those people that are "connected" to Helio? Must be slime buckets, the lot of them.

  9. Anonymous // October 04, 2008 4:15 AM  

    Cavin's got a good article up today that appears in the INDPLS Star. It has quote from the Captain & TK in it.

    Are covering Petit today, Jeff ?

  10. Anonymous // October 05, 2008 9:08 AM  

    Considering the horrible Bailout legislation that was passed WITHOUT THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE (we were overwhelmingly against it), The US Government no longer has the moral authority to arrest anyone on such charges. Unfortunatly they still have the physical power to do so.

  11. Anonymous // October 05, 2008 7:00 PM  

    I feel bad for Helio, and I have been a fan of his since his first day at Penske. He was always cool because he was always upbeat, even if he lost. The image of him in cuffs and leg irons, crying through the hearing is heartbreaking......BUT....he is ultimately responsible for his decisions. Obviously he got some bad advice, but these are serious charges and he obviously made some poor decisions. That said, his career at Penske racing is most assuredly over, and perhaps even the IRL itself. I hate it, but I can't see how it can't happen. And the sadest part of all is that he will deserve every bit of it - we're talking about MILLIONS of dollars and while ignorance is a factor, it's not THAT big a factor.

  12. Jesse // October 07, 2008 8:09 AM  

    Regardless of whether everything that has happened to HCN is standard operating procedure or not; when the IRS issues press releases about you, chains you up, takes your passport, and asks for $10m bail, it's safe to say that they aren't uncertain about their case against you.

    I know everyone is innocent until proven guilty, but one can't help but think there's really no good that can come of this for Helio.