Luciano Pavarotti pleaded not guilty to tax evasion before a judge in his hometown of Modena, Italy. He is charged with filing falsified tax returns between 1989 and 1995 and failing to pay taxes of $26 million. If convicted, he could be sentenced to three years in prison.
"I don't feel guilty," he told the court in a statement. "If the law says the contrary, I want you to know that I was acting in total good faith."
Pavarotti claims that his official residence is in Monaco and that his "core business" is global rather than Italian. Although he does not own a home in Modena, he owns a complex in the town where he holds charity concerts and records. It is also an equestrian center.
"A singer expresses himself in the world," Pavarotti says. "I earn money abroad, and I bring it into Italy. I don't think it's right to think ill of me for that reason."
Pavarotti says he pays taxes in the countries where he performs.