Poker player Dragan Kostic has been sentenced to 18 months in a Spanish prison for tax evasion. The tax evasion stems from when Kostic failed to pay taxes on a poker tournament prize worth €532,000 ($766,438).
Originally from Macedonia, the 55-year-old moved to Spain over two decades ago. And he eventually began playing in poker tournaments around Spain.
His €532k windfall came from taking second place in the €5,300 EPT Barcelona Main Event in 2011. Kostic neglected to pay any of the €233,000 in taxes that he should have. According to El Confidencial, he not only failed to report the massive payout but also claimed a refund of €1,300.
Kostic’s Defense Consisted of Claiming Ignorance
Kostic told a Spanish courtroom that the reason why he didn’t pay his poker taxes is because he didn’t know the laws.
Specifically, he claims to have thought the tourney taxes would be automatically taken out by the casino. When this defense was unsuccessful, Kostic said that his accountant failed to tell him to pay the taxes.
The Criminal Court of Palma originally convicted him of tax evasion. So Kostic tried to appeal in the Provincial Court of Palma. He was once again unsuccessful here too.
His argument was furthered damaged by the fact that he declared poker wins of €7,750 and €20,000. These payouts were above Spain’s required €2,500 threshold on gambling wins.
Kostic Has Won Almost $1 Million in Poker Tournaments
Dragan Kostic began playing live poker tournaments in 2008. He’s since managed to put together a solid career that includes $980,087 in tourney winnings.
Ever since his second-place effort in the Barcelona Main Event, he’s been playing poker all over Europe. But he won’t be playing much poker in the near future as he heads to jail for 18 months.