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Sunday 19.02.2017 | Name days: Zane, Zuzanna

Latvian and Lithuanian authorities dismantle two criminal groups

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RULatvian State Revenue Service’s Finance Police has successfully apprehended two organized crime groups that caused significant damage to the state budget in 2015 and 2016 by realizing different VAT fraud schemes.

A total of 46 searches were performed during the investigation – in Lielvarde, Valmiera, Riga and its districts. Six people have been arrested. One of them is currently under arrest.

Evidence acquired during the investigation helped authorities determine that one organized criminal group was engaged in transportation of household appliances from Poland and VAT avoidance using multiple fictive businesses.

Members of the second group used multiple associated businesses in Lithuania to transport electrical appliances from Poland to sell to multiple businesses in Latvia and avoid having to pay VAT. Clients of those schemes included in their VAT accounts non-existing transactions with fictive businesses. This resulted in reduced tax amounts paid by those companies and acquisition of rights to perform repayment of VAT.

SRS informs that the criminal process helped reveal that approximately eight active businesses and forty fictive businesses were involved in different schemes. Information acquired by the police during the investigation shows that the interest of criminals for the Lithuanian market increased following the introduction of VAT reverse payments for mobile phones in Latvia. The total extent of the damage done to the state budget will be clarified at the end of the criminal process.

SRS Finance Police launched two criminal processes in December 2016.

Investigators performed 46 searches in homes, offices and vehicles. Evidence (documents, computers, phones and code calculators) was collected during those searches, proving the involvement of members of the criminal group in tax fraud schemes.

Cooperation was established with Lithuanian colleagues to assist with the investigation. Latvian and Lithuanian authorities both did their part to apprehend members of the two criminal groups. Criminals attempted to destroy evidence during the arrest. Fortunately, law enforcement officials prevented that from happening.

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