YEREVAN, JUNE 4, Director of National Security Service of Armenia Artur Vanetsyan has clarified why no one has been arrested after the exposure of tax evasion cases by major supermarket networks of Armenia. The NSS Director told the reporters at the parliament that they are not interested in arresting and imprisoning people. “We are more interested in returning the sums stolen from the state to the state budget”, ARMENPRESS reports Vanetsyan as saying.
Artur Vanetsyan assured that any official, incumbent of former that will appear in their view and if there will be enough grounds for bringing them to responsibility, they will stand responsible.
Vanetsyan said that it’s often said that this or that individual stands behind this or that case, but it’s rather difficult to prove it legally. “And the article of the criminal code says that in case of restoring the losses inflicted on the state the charges are dropped. This is not something we do arbitrarily, it’s not me to decide not to imprison. It is provided by the article of the criminal code. When someone returns the stolen money he is exempted from criminal responsibility”, the NSS Director said.
As part of anticorruption campaign the National Security Service of Armenia has exposed tax evasion mechanisms developed by the largest business entities of Armenia. The mechanism is based on the registration of hundreds of individual enterprises that are in fact engaged in false entrepreneurship.
“Alex Holding” LTD, being a accompany that pays value added tax, reached an agreement with the former leadership of the State Revenue Committee (SRC) of Armenia at the end of 2016 to implement the realization of agricultural products bought from farmers in the supermarket chain “Yerevan city” under the name of different individual enterprises the annual turnover of which does not exceed 115 million AMD. This gave “Alex Holding” LTD an opportunity to pay only 2% turnover tax instead of 20% VAT and income tax.
The leadership of “Alex Holding” LTD registered 461 individual enterprises at the same notary office in the name of the employees of their company and the family members of the employees. Some of the enterprises were registered without the knowledge of the citizens, using the identification documents or their copies kept at “Alex Holding” LTD. When the turnover of the false individual enterprises reached the threshold of 115 million AMD, they were dissolved and new ones were registered.
Taking advantage of the opportunities granted illegally and arbitrarily by the former leadership of the SRC, “Alex Holding” LTD sold also many other types of goods in addition to the local agricultural products in the name of the mentioned 461 individual enterprises, again paying only turnover tax.
Preliminary calculations show that the total sales implemented in the name of the 461 individual enterprises has amounted over 40 billion AMD, for which only 2% turnover tax was paid, while in case of legal operation “Alex Holding” LTD should have paid 20% VAT and income tax.
In addition, there is reliable information that the former leadership of the SRC has granted another 11 major companies engaged in network trade with an opportunity to operate under the same tax evasion mechanism, which obviously created unfavorable and unequal competition condition for many other companies paying VAT.
Checks are carried out in the mentioned 11 companies as well.
SRC Chairman Davit Ananyan has announced that agreements with the former authorities have no force and urged the entrepreneurs to work according to the new rules and in the framework of the law. On June 1 the owners of major supermarkets of Armenia, including Yerevan City and SAS, sent an open letter to the Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan asking for a meeting to discuss the ways of solving the problem. They offered to develop legislative mechanisms for solving the problem.