Tax Agency Uncovers 'Invoice Factory'
A Tax and Customs Board office ( Photo: Postimees/Scanpix )
The Tax and Customs Board has arrested six suspects in connection to a tax evasion scheme reaching across the border to Latvia.
Two of those arrested are suspected of belonging to an organization that allegedly provided fake invoices to bump up tax deductible expenses in accounting from January 2011 to February 2012. Officials said the organization comprised six underground entities that had a combined turnover of 34 million euros and which provided services to 25 Estonian and Latvian companies.
On Wednesday, authorities conducted searches in Tallinn and its surrounding Harju county, as well as in Riga. The arrests were all made in Estonia and all of the detainees were later released, a Prosecutor's Office press representative, Arno Põder, told uudised.err.ee.
Among those arrested were two company directors, suspected of extensive tax evasion and one also of money laundering. One of the companies was a food wholesaler, the other a metal products wholesaler.
"In any case, we are dealing with an exceptionally extensive criminal case. The suspects were active for a long period and in two countries, which has complicated the investigation,” said prosecutor Dmitri Teplõhh.
"Due to the conspiratorial nature of their activities, collecting evidence proved extremely complicated and time-consuming. I would like to emphasize here our great cooperation with Latvia's financial police office, which jointly helped us inhibit criminal activity outside of Estonia,” said Jaan Riima, head of the Estonian tax board's investigations department.