Manny Pacquiao has frozen assets, forced to borrow money to pay for typhoon relief
Filipino boxing hero Manny Pacquiao said authorities froze all of his national bank accounts over a tax case of 2.2 billion Philippine pesos ($ 54.7 million).
“It’s harassment,” the former eight-division world champion said in an interview with ABS-CBN television, as he first revealed a freezing order issued by the Bureau of Internal Revenue of Philippines in recent months.
The shock announcement came just two days after Pacquiao, 34, resurrected his boxing career with a unanimous decision victory over American Brandon Rios in the Chinese playing enclave of Macau.
The victory, which Pacquiao dedicated to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, only added to his luster with millions of ordinary Filipinos who idolize the fighter.
Pacquiao is now considering more lucrative fights in the United States. He is also pursuing a political career in the Philippines, where he is a member of Congress for a second term with the ambition of eventually becoming president.
Pacquiao said the tax office took this step because he believed he evaded taxes on his fights in the United States in 2008 and 2009, when he was at the peak of his career and earning tens of millions. of dollars.
He said he didn’t break any laws because he had previously paid taxes on that income to the United States, which has a treaty with the Philippines that allows citizens of both countries to avoid double taxation.
“I am not a criminal or a thief. I am not hiding anything. I will deal with my problems as they arise,” Pacquiao said.
âI already paid my taxes in America. If I hadn’t paid the correct taxes, they (the American authorities) would have come after me and I wouldn’t have been able to travel there.â
The Philippine tax office confirmed that the local bank accounts of Pacquiao and his wife, Jinkee, had been frozen.
âAccording to the collection division, we have garnished his bank accounts,â said Dino Somera, head of the litigation division of the tax office.
Somera said he didn’t know how much money was in the couple’s bank accounts, and Pacquiao did not disclose the amount in the TV interview.
The Pacquiao have asked the Tax Appeals Court to lift the bank freeze, but the court has yet to rule on the couple’s petition, according to court documents released to media.
Pacquiao said the freeze order had left him with no money to pay his staff and forced him to borrow “at least a million pesos,” or $ 25,000, to honor his pledges to help victims of the dead. a devastating super typhoon in the Philippines.
AFP / ABC