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EPT Barcelona Main Event Runner-up Gets 18-Month Jail Term For Tax Evasion

Tags: Barcelona, Dragan Kostic, Macedonia, Spain, tax evasion.
Posted on 13 September 2017 by "T".

The amount €630,000 and a quite lengthy jail term is something surely no professional poker pro ever wants to pay for, so next time if you're good enough to win such a hefty amount at any poker event, then the humongous tax you're about to pay is something you should be happy to part with, or else...suffer the dire consequences.

Dragan Kostic, a professional poker player, has lost his appeal to avoid a jail sentence and at the same time he has to pay dearly for not declaring his poker winnings to the tax authorities in Spain.

On September 4, Monday, Spanish media reports said that the Provincial Court of Palma had maintained their earlier Criminal Court of Palma judgement which stated Kostic to be jailed for 18 months plus he has incurred penalties summing up to €630,000 for failure to declare his winnings from the 2011 European Poker Tour Barcelona event.

Dragan Kostic, age 55, from Macedonia but has been a resident of Spain for the past 25 years, won 2nd place in the 2011 EPT Barcelona event, and his prize was €532,000 ($766,438). He was supposed to pay in tax the amount of €230,000, but he chose not to. Along with the unpaid €230,000, he also has to pay a fine of €400,000 with it, and last but not least, a ticket to jail for 18 months.

He at first feigned ignorance when he was questioned by the authorities, saying that he thought the taxes were already deducted by the casino themselves after he cashed in at the tournament. After that, he blamed an accountant who took care of his 2011 tax returns, at that year he claimed a refund of €1,300.

The Criminal Court of Palma did not believe Kostic's story, so he was convicted. He tried on September 4 to appeal to the ruling, but it was unsuccessful. The court had one simple reason to convict him - he could afford to play poker, but he wasn't paying taxes. How can he, without a current job, afford to travel to casinos across the globe and buy into poker tournaments and cash games for literally thousands of Euros each time without having any real income?

A translation of the court ruling said, "It seems the least peculiar that a professional player, who participates in world tournaments and who wins prizes of such caliber, does not worry about the subject of taxation, rather, he does ensure that he knows if there is an obligation or not to [pay tax when that is the only profit and only income he has."

Also, Kostic had included smaller wins of around €20,000 and €7,000 in his previous tax declarations, both were obviously above the €2,500 limit for non-taxable winnings in Spain.



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15 comments on "EPT Barcelona Main Event Runner-up Gets 18-Month Jail Term For Tax Evasion"

 doubletop77713/09/2017 07:19:21 GMT
You cannot ignore the tax man and i can't believe that this guy could think he could get away without paying. To say that he thought the tax was already paid was quite a flimsy argument in my opinion
 CALICUL13/09/2017 07:46:52 GMT
Another case in which he tried to cheat the Spanish state and avoid paying taxes. From this news you realize that this Macedonian resident in Spain for 25 years tried to bluffing... the Spanish law of taxation. Now he will pay more than he has won and will regret this counting and punishment with imprisonment
 DaCapo7113/09/2017 09:39:43 GMT
The football clubs in Spain can do transfers without paying the taxes over many years, but privat person have a problem just in time. Better this guy played poker in Texas Big Smile Bad bluff and everyboday have to pay the tax in the different countrys.
 Jinn13/09/2017 10:06:42 GMT
Some countries' tax rates frighten me. I've heard about 70% or such. Can anyone prove or refute this?
 shokaku13/09/2017 10:14:19 GMT
Most tax systems are rather complicated, with increasing rates for higher incomes, like a big poker tourney win, but +70% seems a bit harsh in todays world. But those rates did exist in the past.
 Tony_MON7ANA13/09/2017 14:08:10 GMT
Many high-stakes poker professionals move to tax havens countries. The requirements for establishing residency for tax purposes greatly vary from country to country. Dragan Kostic might have avoided jail time if he had consulted with reputable immigration and international tax attorneys.
 Odysseus10113/09/2017 22:44:53 GMT
Meh, he was obviously hoping that there would be enough grey area about his residency or about the taxability of poker tournament winnings that he tried to get away with not claiming. Which is fine. But be prepared to pay up right away when the authorities say "nuh uh!". What an idiot. I guess he's just another European who thinks that dodging taxes is the national sport.
 xxxpokerxxx114/09/2017 03:35:43 GMT
I am so blessed to live in a country where I don't pay any taxs on any kind of winnings,doesn't matter how much.
 damosk14/09/2017 11:22:19 GMT
Ano. Ther story of someone winning lots of money and getting caught out by taxation. Taxation! The bane of all of our lives, unless of course you can find some way of avoiding it legally.... maybe he should have built up a huge hospitality expense account and claimed it all against that! Is that allowed? LOL
 pajalnick14/09/2017 13:40:23 GMT
to deceive spain is certainly a good attempt .... but to deceive the state is of course very stupid ........ I certainly can understand this man but if he understands a little then he did not need to do this ... eventually as I I think this person is guilty and he deserves punishment
 bowie198414/09/2017 15:43:11 GMT
Spanish tax authorities are no joke to be honest, they even went after Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo so nothing new here... Of course they are gonna try 2 shake off this 'poor no name poker player' as well.
 pochui15/09/2017 11:26:01 GMT
well honestly I have only one thing to say to all fcukin taxmen- fcuk yourself through the arses... why the hell someone should shell out more cash just because he earns more? does he get more pathetic quality public services for this?
 Gerimantas15/09/2017 18:21:09 GMT
Yes like some people say in this thread i too think thus is no big crime to do, trying not to pay taxes is just trying to have more your own money in your account. All of this money is your and now some people just want to take it and maybe they don't deserve this?
 Mober15/09/2017 18:34:09 GMT
Why not including this on his taxes?
Is it something that you can hide.
Unlike other businesses this is something that is included in the media.
You cant hide this.

And of course the reason he chose to, was the amount of tax he had to pay.
230k euro tax, in 532k winnings? Is this right?
 shokaku15/09/2017 19:52:42 GMT
Depends on who you will ask.

Of cause people that will have to pay that amount of money will not be pleased. On the other hand, those who count on tax money being funneld to them, will think it is right.

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