Lawyer: Helio Castroneves Didn't Do Anything Wrong

Lawyer: Helio Castroneves Didn't Do Anything Wrong
Helio Castroneves
Michael Tran/FilmMagic

updated 10/03/2008 at 12:00 PM EDT

originally published 10/03/2008 01:10PM

A lawyer for Dancing with the Stars champion Helio Castroneves, who was indicted Thursday in a federal income tax case, says he is an innocent victim.

"Helio Castroneves is a superb and accomplished professional race car driver," Miami criminal attorney Mark Seiden, who is representing Castroneves, tells PEOPLE. "He is not a tax lawyer and not an accountant. He relied in good faith on competent professionals for tax advice. We don't feel he did anything wrong and will be vindicated in court."

The Brazilian professional race car driver, 33, was indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday for allegedly siphoning millions of dollars in income to a Panamanian shell company from 1999 to 2004.

Castroneves, who lives in Coral Gables, Fla., is expected to appear in a Miami court Friday afternoon to face charges of conspiracy and tax evasion. If convicted of all charges, he faces a maximum penalty of 35 years in prison.

Other Indictments

His sister Katiucia (Kati) Castroneves, who is also his business manager, and his attorney, Alan Miller, were also indicted.

Castroneves has been in Atlanta this week practicing for a 10-hour auto race scheduled for Saturday. He plans to return to Atlanta Friday to resume practice and to race for his Penske Team over the weekend.

"We totally support Helio and are gearing up for the10-hour car race this Saturday in Atlanta," Bed Denker, Executive Vice President of Penske Racing tells PEOPLE. "We will see him in Atlanta Saturday for the race."

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