Former Premier League star John Carew jailed for dodging taxes

16 November 2022, 13:16

John Carew has been jailed for tax evasion
John Carew has been jailed for tax evasion. Picture: Getty

By Kit Heren

A former Premier League footballer has been sent to prison for tax evasion.

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John Carew, who played more than 160 games for Aston Villa, Stoke and West Ham, scoring over 50 times, was sent to prison for 14 months in his native Norway on Wednesday.

Carew, 43, has also been told to pay a whopping fine of £45,353 (540,000 in Norwegian kroner) for evading taxes of more than £450,000.

The judge presiding in the case said Mr Carew had shown "gross negligence" - but that he could have been given a much longer jail sentence of two years and 7 months if it could be proven that he had evaded taxes on purpose.

John Carew playing for Aston Villa in 2010
John Carew playing for Aston Villa in 2010. Picture: Getty

"According to the evidence presented, the court cannot see that there is a cover for Carew's decision not to disclose his income and assets, even if the description of the offence was thereby fulfilled," the judge said in his judgement. 

"In the court's view, there is nothing in the evidence that supports such a hypothesis."

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Mr Carew's lawyer said he thought the verdict should be seen as a victory.

Berit Reiss-Andersen said in a statement: "This shows that John Carew is believed on all counts. The court has concluded that he has acted grossly negligently, but not with intent."

"We have claimed this all along, and Carew has been clear that he has wanted to make amends."

John Carew played over 160 times in England
John Carew played over 160 times in England. Picture: Getty

Mr Carew has not decided whether to appeal the prison sentence, Norwegian outlet E24 reported.

The footballer's offence relates to spending more than half the year in Norway, despite officially living abroad for tax purposes since 2000.

If you are a taxable resident abroad, you cannot stay in Norway for more than 183 days per year. But Carew stayed in the country for six consecutive years between 2014 and 2019.

He said that he had followed the advice of a friend, who he trusted "blindly."

John Carew also played 91 times for Norway
John Carew also played 91 times for Norway. Picture: Getty

Carew added: "I have been convinced that he was right. He controlled me almost like a puppet. 

"I understand that it is grossly negligent of me to trust him so much, but that is why I have done it.

The prosecution claimed Carew could have told the authorities several times, but decided not to.

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Police attorney Ragna Flaekoy Skjakodegard stated last month: "Carew has had many, many opportunities to correct the information given to the tax authorities."

Mr Carew, who also played for Valencia, Roma and Lyon as well as several Norwegian clubs, turned out 91 times for Norway.

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