Romania Targets Wealthiest Tax Dodgers

In its latest attempt to tackle corruption, the Romanian tax authorities are checking up on the assets of the richest people in the country.

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Romania’s tax administration, ANAF, is checking the assets of 30 ultra-wealthy Romanians from an initial group of people with personal assets of over 20 million euro, according to information BIRN has obtained.  “The controls in this case started last month. Our activity has a high degree of complexity, as tax inspectors are carrying out analyses of various investment activities, such as transactions with financial instruments on domestic and international markets and dissimulated or artificial operations,” ANAF’s director, Eugen Serban, said. Serban added that ANAF is targeting a wider group of 336 people with huge fortunes, including businessmen in real estate or construction as well as investors.

In November, ANAF ended its checks on the first group of ten wealthy Romanians. Following the checks, which targeted revenues made in 2011, the tax authorities found total undeclared incomes of 86.9 million lei, or some 20 million euro. The due taxes and penalties for the undeclared revenues amount to some 3.7 million euro, according to ANAF.

The tax authority has opened criminal cases against three out of these ten people. In recent years, Romania has intensified efforts to tackle the widespread problem of corruption. While the number of rich businessmen or high-ranking officials sentenced for graft has increased significantly, Romania has failed to solve the issue of recovering unpaid taxes or of confiscating assets. Media reports say Romania has recovered only around 15 per cent of such losses. Experts say the government must drag more rich people into the right tax net to replenish the country’s empty coffers.

“Romania has all the laws and institutions it needs to recover damages from those guilty of corruption or tax evasion. But they were not managed well enough so far. Hopefully, this will not be the case anymore,” economic analyst Mihail Mitroi said. Parliament last month approved a law to establish a new agency to coordinate asset seizures and forfeitures.

Balkan Insight 

11 Decemebr 2015