Chess Great Bobby Fischer Detained By Japan, Faces U.S. Tax Evasion Charges

As the U.S. builds a tax evasion case against chess great Bobby Fischer, the man himself sits in the Japanese detention center where he has been held for eight months after being caught trying to leave Japan on an invalid U.S. passport, the Associated Press reported.

Japan ordered Fischer deported to the U.S. after the passport incident, in which he attempted to board a flight to the Philippines in July.

As Fischer tries to fight his way out of Japan-Iceland has offered him a passport-the U.S. is moving forward with tax

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evasion charges against the chess legend who became world chess champion in 1972 at a match in Iceland against the Soviet Union's Boris Spassky.

A Japanese newspaper reported that the U.S. Internal Revenue Service is expected to seek a grand jury indictment against Fischer and charge him with five counts of tax evasion. The grand jury is set to start April 5.

He is already wanted by Washington for violating U.S. sanctions against Yugoslavia by playing a chess match there in 1992, the Journal reported.

"He is at the end of his rope, physically and mentally," his fiancee, Miyoko Watai, who heads the Japan Chess Federation, told the AP. Fischer will turn 62 on Wednesday.

He was recently held for four days in solitary confinement after allegedly fighting with guards who refused to give him an egg for breakfast. Watai and other Fischer supporters gave varying accounts of the dispute, and immigration officials were unavailable for comment, the AP reported.

Supporters say that Fischer's Icelandic passport had been picked up and airline tickets bought for his trip to Iceland, but Japan refused to allow him to leave with U.S. charges pending against him.

"We are talking about a human tragedy in the making here in Japan," said Gudmundur Thorarinsson, a former member of Iceland's parliament who met with Fischer Monday. "What he did was to play chess in Yugoslavia. He sought asylum in Japan because he loved Japan and the Japanese people. But the Japanese have kept him in a detention center for nearly eight months."

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