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Cirque founder Guy Laliberté abandons legal challenge over tax bill for 2009 space flight

Space tourist Canadian billionaire and clown Guy Laliberte shows A victory sign while sitting inside the Soyuz TMA-14 spacecraft shortly after his landing near the town of Arkalyk, Kazakhstan, on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2009. Laliberté ended a legal challenge over a tax bill for his 2009 space flight. Monday, June 1, 2020.
Space tourist Canadian billionaire and clown Guy Laliberte shows A victory sign while sitting inside the Soyuz TMA-14 spacecraft shortly after his landing near the town of Arkalyk, Kazakhstan, on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2009. Laliberté ended a legal challenge over a tax bill for his 2009 space flight. Monday, June 1, 2020. AP-Sergei Remezov, Pool/The Canadian Press

The billionaire founder of the Cirque du Soleil is ending efforts to recover millions of dollars paid to Canadian tax authorities relating to his 2009 stay on board the International Space Station.

Quebec businessman Guy Laliberté says he won’t seek leave to appeal a Federal Court of Appeal decision to dismiss the case.

READ MORE: Tax court rules Guy Laliberté’s $42M space trip was a taxable benefit

In a 26-page decision, Justice Mary Gleason agreed with the Tax Court of Canada that Laliberté’s appeal may appear “unusual and exotic,” but not when the case is considered on its merits.

Laliberté was trying to avoid having to pay tax on the $41.8-million bill that accompanied his space trip, by arguing that these were business expenses and not a personal stay.

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READ MORE: Guy Laliberté to attempt to resume ownership of Cirque du Soleil amid financial woes

Laliberté was Canada’s first space tourist. He used his weightless journey to raise awareness of the problems linked to the accessibility of water in the world.

The tax court allocated the business portion of the trip at 10 per cent leaving the remaining $37.6 million as a taxable benefit.

Spokeswoman Anne Dongois says Laliberté was “disappointed” by the Federal Court ruling issued Friday, adding that the taxes were paid several years ago.

Guy Laliberté launches new venture in Montreal’s Old Port
Guy Laliberté launches new venture in Montreal’s Old Port