Romanian anti-corruption unit uncovers tax evasion ring in meat sector
Romania’s corruption watchdog, the National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA), announced the details of a large tax evasion scam in the meat sector, which it is investigating together with the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the DNA wrote in an Oct. 28 press release.
“The prosecutor’s resolution for the start of the criminal investigation showed that there are solid clues and data according to which the people under suspicion coordinated a criminal network aiming at monopolizing and distribution of meat products through a complex evasion mechanism,” the DNA wrote in a press release dated Oct. 28.
The investigation is probing more than 100 private companies from Romania and abroad, which tried to monopolize the meat market through fake companies, as well as avoiding paying tax on transactions. The scam cost the state an estimated EUR 50 mln, according to the DNA.
A complex criminal network was set up under which individuals had certain responsibilities such as setting up fake companies, inciting foreign and Romanian citizens to act as representative and associates to these companies, liaising with the fiscal authorities to cover up the tax evasion, drawing up of fake contracts and coordinating transport of goods.
The suspects allegedly defrauded the state through understating the volume of products brought and sold, including revenues listed on invoices and adding fake expenses to company accounts.
A chief suspect in the investigation is Iustin P., credited as being the youngest billionaire in Romania. The suspect owns Carmistin Group, which breeds animals and exports meat. Carmistin has a turnover of an estimated EUR 120 mln.
The scam came to the attention of the DNA after some 13 tonnes of chicken meat being sold to the supermarket chain Selgros was withdrawn from the market after it was found to contain salmonella.