Seattle Mariners star Ichiro Suzuki failed to declare 80 million yen in income in Japan over three years through 2001, according to sources.
The 29-year-old former Orix BlueWave outfielder has since paid arrears and penalties of 20 million yen to the Nagoya Regional Taxation Bureau, the sources said.
While playing for the Pacific League team, Suzuki contracted out deals for television commercials and the running of a baseball museum to a firm run by his father, the sources said.
In 1999, however, the firm, Office Ichiro, did not pay Suzuki 60 million yen in fees for appearances in commercials, a move seen as an attempt to keep the player’s income lower than it really was.
The tax bureau thus found the sum to be part of the player’s income and decided he should have declared it as such, the sources said.
The bureau also found the commissions Suzuki paid to the firm to be more than 10 million yen above market price, thereby regarding part of the commission as taxable, they added.
The seven-time Pacific League batting champion moved to the United States in 2001 to join the major league team. He has since paid taxes in the U.S. and declared income losses in Japan.
He was thus ordered to pay arrears and penalties for his income earned in 1999 and 2000, the sources said.
For four years until 2000, Suzuki was the top tax payer among pro athletes in Japan.
He joined the Orix BlueWave in 1992 and signed with the Seattle Mariners after the 2000 season as the first Japanese position player to move to the major leagues.
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