Luciano Pavarotti, probably the most famous opera singer in modern history, has agreed to pay $12.5 million in back taxes to settle a tax evasion case.
"I feel light — in the mind and also in the pocketbook," Pavarotti said, according to the Italian news agency Mak-Multimedia Adnkronos.
Negotiations between the Italian government and the singer went on for 40 days. In April, the Italian Finance Ministry alleged that Pavarotti avoided paying back taxes by claiming a home he owns in Monte Carlo is his primary residence. The finance agency claimed, however, that Pavarotti spends most of his time in his hometown of Modena and therefore is subject to Italian taxes.
"It's very difficult to explain the life of one who travels the world and who every year visits 50 different cities," Pavarotti wrote in Turin, Italy's La Stampa newspaper on Thursday (July 27).
That allegation came just three months after Pavarotti agreed to pay $2.5 million in back taxes over 36 months. It is unclear whether this new agreement includes the previous settlement.
It has been suggested that the tax problem also is tied to the singer's attempt to work out a divorce settlement with his ex-business manager and wife, Adua. The two have been in a struggle over how much the star is worth and how much she is entitled to. Reports have Pavarotti's fortune weighing in at approximately $473 million.
The 64-year-old singer appeared at the offices of Finance Minister Ottaviano del Turco, in person, Thursday to deliver an initial check of $5 million with the additional amount to be forthcoming. He will make the rest of the payments in quarterly installments over the next four years.
"I wish to emphasize that I am innocent," Pavarotti said in La Stampa. "I have always paid my taxes wherever I have sung but the Italian state believes I have not paid enough," he said. "I do not want to be known as a tax evader."
"This is a good signal in a country where the tax system enables some members of the public to put their accounts in order," Del Turco told La Stampa.
On Saturday, the Three Tenors — Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo and José Carreras, performed for the first time in Brazil. That date was originally scheduled for a concert in Albany, N.Y., which was canceled due to poor ticket sales.
Pavarotti also performed a solo concert in Seoul, South Korea, recently, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War. He shared the stage with soprano Carmela Remigio and conductor Leone Magiera.
The singer first rose to stardom after a 1972 Metropolitan Opera appearance.