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Ross: International tax evasion is a bridge too far

The latest competitor suspended after testing positive for banned substances is Geir Helgemo.

Mr. Helgemo hails from Monaco, and is ranked as number one in Contract Bridge – the card game.

Unfortunately, he had taken diet pills and after a tournament last year, he tested positive for synthetic Testosterone and Clomifene, which is typically used by women trying to get pregnant. I’m not sure how that would help win bridge tournaments, considering the side effects include pelvic pain and hot flashes.

But rules are rules. So the World Bridge Federation suspended him for a year.

The American Contract Bridge League, however, said the ruling was ridiculous, pointing out this is bridge, not the hammer throw. And so the Americans invited him to play in their tournaments, setting off a debate on bridge websites which grew fierce enough that several posts had to be taken down.

As it turns out, Helgemo and his partner can’t play bridge anywhere for now. Because although officially they play for Monaco, which has no income tax, they live in Norway, where they will be staying until they’ve served out their sentence for tax evasion.

I hear ya, but rules are rules.

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