LATEST: Actor WESLEY SNIPES was set free by a Florida judge this morning (08DEC06) after posting $1 million (£513,000) in bail related to federal tax evasion charges levelled against him. The 44-year-old star appeared in a federal courthouse in Ocala, Florida after flying in on a private jet from Namibia where he is filming the cowboy movie GALLOWWALKER. He pleaded not guilty to charges he fraudulently claimed refunds totalling nearly $12 million dollars (£6.15 million) from taxes he paid in 1996 and 1997. The federal indictment accuses Snipes of using an accounting firm known for filing false returns in exchange for 20 per cent of all the money refunded and he is also charged with failing to file any tax returns from 1999 to 2004. Snipes' attorney BILLY MARTIN said outside the courthouse, "Mr Snipes left America to begin filming Gallowwalker long before this indictment was returned. "We want to make it clear that he did not avoid returning to the United States. He's always been ready to return and he did not flee." Snipes added, "I wanna say thanks to everybody, thanks to all of the fans out there for showing support. I look forward to clearing my name and resolving this issue post-haste." The actor is returning to Africa to continue working on the film. He faces up to 16 years in prison if convicted on the charges.