Castroneves: 'Innocent' of US tax charges

AP Legal Affairs Writer

MIAMI (AP) -- Race car driver and "Dancing With The Stars" winner Helio Castroneves is insisting he's innocent of federal tax evasion charges.

Castroneves told reporters after a court hearing Thursday that he's ready for trial and confident of acquittal. Castroneves, his sister and an attorney are charged with allegedly scheming to evade taxes on about $5.5 million in income between 1999 and 2004.

The trial is set to begin March 2. U.S. District Judge Donald Graham denied a motion by Castroneves to dismiss several of the counts. Another hearing is set Monday on a separate dismissal motion.

Castroneves, a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, faces a maximum five-year prison sentence on each of six counts if convicted.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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