GP team owner Sito Pons faces 24 years in prison over tax evasion case

Two-time 250GP World Champion and Moto2 title-winning team owner Sito Pons faces up to 24 years in jail over a tax evasion accusation

Sito Pons, Alex Rins

GP World Champion and title-winning team owner Sito Pons could be facing more than two decades in prison after it emerged prosecutors have requested a 24-year jail term in a tax evasion case.

Pons, who won the 1988 and 1989 250GP World Championship titles as a rider, as well as the Moto2 World Championship as the owner of the Tuenti HP 40 (Pons Racing) team in 2013 with Pol Espargaro, is embroiled in a legal case that states he avoided paying 2.7million euros in taxes between 2010 and 2014.

According to the Spanish newspaper ABC, Pons has been investigated for tax fraud for two years with the case now coming to a head with prosecutors going for a hefty jail term, together with a fine of more than £12 million euros.

Pons was originally probed for account discrepancies in 2010, but further investigations saw this complaint extended out to a four-year period up to 2014.

The case concerns an accusation that he pretended to live aboard during that period to avoid paying taxes in Spain. He claimed he was basing himself out of Monaco and London, when it fact credit card bills, electricity bills and smartphone use instead suggests he was predominantly in Spain during that time where the Pons Racing outfit is based.

He is accused of committing six tax offences, which include using shell companies to hide his wealth and earnings from the Spanish and Catalan tax agencies.

After retiring from racing in 1990, Pons went on to create his eponymous 500GP/MotoGP team Pons Racing, which competed until 2006 and proved successful with the likes of Loris Capirossi, Alex Barros and Max Biaggi competing for the team.

Since then Pons Racing has focused on the Moto2 series, peaking in 2013 with Espargaro’s run to the title, and is considered one of the title favourites for 2020 with Lorenzo Baldassarri.