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Tuesday 23.01.2018 | Name days: Strauta, Grieta
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Latvian authorities tackle tax avoidance at Gan Bei

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUAuthorities say a criminal group with ties to owners of Gan Bei network of restaurants stole approximately EUR 700,000 to EUR 800,000 from cash registers, which is equal to 50% of monthly revenue.

This Wednesday, December 10th, Latvian Finance Police arrested seven members of this criminal group, including the wife of Saeima deputy Sergei Potapkin. According to authorities, she is one of the leaders of the criminal group.

During a press-conference this Thursday, Deputy Director of State Revenue Service for combating organized crime Kaspars Cerneckis neither confirmed nor denied the possibility of searches having been performed in the office of the owner of Gan Bei restaurant – Lage Ko. He did confirm, however, that among the arrested persons is also Saeima deputy Sergei Potapkin’s wife Galina Karmaca, who is the co-owner of Lage Ko.

Director of SRS Finance Police Kaspars Podins reports that authorities have performed a total of 30 searches. Seven persons have been arrested: five of these people form the core of this criminal group. Podins adds that Potapkin’s wife is apparently one of the heads of this criminal group. Two of the arrested persons remain in custody.

Podins adds that searches and arrests have been performed in one of the oldest Latvian cash register system development companies, which has provided its cash registers to the majority of Latvian traders, service providers and other customers. Along with cash registers this company also provided flash drives with malicious software, which, upon closing the cash register, allowed owners to artificially reduce the amount of cash held in the device and withdraw that money. According to unofficial information, this company may be 4 Solutions. However, Cerneckins neither confirmed nor denied this information.

Podins noted that the performed searches have yielded enough evidence, including system blocks from cash registers, flash sticks with malicious software and lists of envelope salaries of employees. According to Cerneckis, it is enough to launch criminal processes against four trade and service companies.

BNN had previously reported that the Saeima has decided to allow law enforcement authorities to perform searches in the home of Harmony deputy Sergei Potapkin.

This decision was supported by 86 deputies, including Potapkin himself. None of the deputies abstained or voted against this decision. Two parliamentarians – Mārtiņš Bondars and Aleksandrs Kiršteins – did not participate in the vote.

Potapkin had previously noted that he would not oppose having a search performed in his home, but on condition that the Prosecutor General and Finance Police believe it to be necessary. Potapkin explains that his wife, Galina Karmaca, is a hired employee in a company, not a member of the management board. The small shares she owns were provided to her as part of the company’s motivation programme. «If the Finance Police and prosecutor’s office have doubts about the company’s actions, I have no reason to obstruct the investigation,» – said the Saeima deputy.

The request to perform a search in the deputy’s home was submitted in accordance with a criminal process currently investigated by the Finance Police in regard to the possible tax avoidance. Authorities have reasons to believe that the permanent residence of the financial director of the two companies involved in the criminal case – Galina Karmaca – may hold documents and drafts of the paid and calculated envelope salaries, illegal software and traces of its use on computers and other data storage devices. Because her permanent residence is the same as her husband Potapkin, the Saeima was asked to provide permission to carry out a search there, according to information from the Saeima.

The estimated damage done to the state as a result of the aforementioned criminal activity is EUR 780,000 of unpaid VAT. Additional calculations will be performed. With that, this amount may grow even more, because allegedly the company did not pay any social taxes for its employees in addition to not paying VAT, notes Prosecutor General Eriks Kalnmeiers.

PIetiek.com, had previously reported that the request for permission to carry out a search is related to a criminal case that involved Potapkin’s wife and her partially owned restaurant business Lage Ltd.

Ref: 102.109.109.5783


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