RIGA - Golden State Warriors' center Andris Biedrins is facing tax evasion charges in his homeland Latvia, a prosecution official in the Baltic nation said on Monday.
Aiga Senberga, spokeswoman for the Latvian state prosecutor's office, confirmed to AFP that a case had been launched against the NBA player as a result of a request received from the country's tax authorities.
Senberga underlined that the decision by the prosecutor's office to open a probe was in no way linked to Biedrins's status as a high profile sportsman.
"This is a normal process for Latvia," she said, adding that there was no information yet on when the case might reach court.
Latvia's State Revenue Service told AFP in a statement that based on previous cases, such proceedings could last for an average of three years.
The revenue service said that Biedrins and two other individuals were accused of evading value-added tax to the tune of 11,500 lats (16,000 euros, $20,000) in November 2011.
The case revolves around the import of a Malibu Wakesetter boat from the United States to Latvia for personal use, with a bogus leisure-hire company having been created to help dodge tax duties, it alleged.
Anyone found guilty of the alleged offences could face a jail term of up to five years, community service or a fine as well as confiscation of property, the revenue service said.
Biedrins, now 26, started his professional career as a teenager in 2002 with BK Skonto in the Latvian capital Riga.
He entered the NBA draft in 2004 and was picked by the Golden State Warriors, who are based in Oakland, California.
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