Hollywood actor Wesley Snipes has appeared in court after being arrested on fraud charges yesterday in Florida.

The Blade star is alleged to have evaded around $12 million (£6.1 million) in 1996 and 1997, before failing to file tax returns between 1999 and 2006.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and has paid a $1 million (£0.51 million) Bond so he can return to Namibia, where he is currently filming the feature film Gallow Walker.

Facing up to 16 years in prison if he is convicted, Snipes has consistently claimed he is a scapegoat in the case.

"I look forward to vindicating myself and clearing my name," the Reuters news agency reported Snipes as telling reporters.

The 44-year-old was arrested in Orlando after being indicted on the tax fraud charges on October 17th.

He has starred in numerous films in his 20-year Hollywood career, which began in 1986 when he played opposite Goldie Hawn in 1986's Wildcats. Since then he has starred in White Men Can't Jump, Passenger 57, The Fan and, most notably, the Blade trilogy.

09/12/2006 11:59:10