Boxing champion Manny Pacquiao has revealed that authorities have frozen all his domestic bank accounts over allegations of unpaid taxes from lucrative fights in the United States, crippling him financially.
The millionaire Filipino sporting superstar said the move meant he had been forced to borrow money to fulfil pledges to help victims of the devastating super typhoon in the Philippines, which has claimed more than 5,000 lives.
Pacquiao, 34, has branded as “harassment” the freeze order issued by the Philippines’ Bureau of Internal Revenue.
The shock announcement came just days after Pacquiao made a victorious return to the boxing ring, with a unanimous points decision win over American opponent Brandon Rios in Macau.
Pacquiao dedicated his first victory in two years to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, which will only fuel his popularity among millions of ordinary Filipinos who idolise the fighter.
The former eight-division world champion is now eyeing more lucrative fights in the United States.
He also has a political career in the Philippines, where he is a second-term congressman with ambitions of eventually becoming president.
Pacquiao said the tax office took the action because it believed he had evaded paying 2.2 billion pesos (£31m) in taxes on his fights in the United States in 2008 and 2009, when he was at the peak of his career and earning tens of millions of dollars.
He said he had broken no laws because he had already paid taxes on those earnings in the United States, which has a treaty with the Philippines that allows citizens of both countries avoid double taxation.
However, he said the tax bureau had rejected the documents he provided as proof that he had already paid the money.
“I am not a criminal or a thief. I am not hiding anything. I will face my problems as they come,” Pacquiao said.
“I have already paid my taxes in America. Had I not paid the correct taxes they (US authorities) would have come after me and I would not have been able to travel there.” see more