Rossi shells out €35m to settle tax bill

GP legend 'very happy' with the way difficult saga turned out

Seven-time MotoGP champion, Valentino Rossi, has agreed to shell out over €35 million to the Italian government in unpaid tax.

The 28-year-old, from Tavullia on the Adriatic coast, will pay €19 million for tax owed during the period 2001-2004, however this figure could rise to as much as €35 million when earnings from 2005-06 are taken into account.

Rossi has been living in London since 2000, but the Italian government started chasing him for back-taxes in August last year. It is widely rumoured that the added pressure has taken its toll on the Italian's riding form in the world's toughest bike racing championship.

Today, Rossi released a statement outlining reasons for the swift resolution of this case:

"I'm very happy with the way this difficult affair has turned out because I will be calmer now and that will help me to concentrate on my work. Also, having enjoyed living in London for 7 years, I want to return to live in Italy and this would not be possible if I had problems with the Italian tax authorities. I could not allow this to drag on either. I've come to an agreement with the Tax Agency which will allow me to return calm and ready ahead of the new season."