Philippine boxing legend Manny Pacquiao on Friday won a years-long court battle to avoid paying tens of millions of dollars in extra taxes after an appeals court dismissed the case against him. Pacquiao and his wife Jinkee had been accused by the Bureau of Internal Revenue in 2012 of owing more than 2.2 billion pesos ($37 million) in unpaid taxes for 2008 and 2009. The 43-year-old previously insisted he had paid the taxes in the United States, so did not need to do so in the Philippines because the two countries have an agreement allowing their citizens to avoid double taxation.

Then president Benigno Aquino was waging a bruising campaign against tax evasion as part of a general crackdown on corruption. Pacquiao, a former world champion and politician, became one of the highest-profile targets of the tax office’s sweep.

But the Court of Tax Appeals found the tax office had relied on “unverified news articles” to make its assessment. In a 49-page judgement, the court said the “assessment for deficiency income tax is void for violation of petitioners’ right to due process and for lack of sufficient factual basis”.

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