Nine people detained in tax evasion case involving farm owned by Speaker Dragnea’s son

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Prosecutors with the General Prosecutor’s Office have detained nine people in a tax evasion case in which several searches were conducted on Thursday, including a pig farm owned by Valentin Stefan Dragnea, the son of the national leader of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) and Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Liviu Dragnea.

Among the detainees are Ilie Dragne, the manager of the pig farm at Salcia, Teleorman County, which was heard on Thursday for several hours at the Bucharest Police Precinct 1.

Lawyer to Ilie Dragne, Maria Vasii, said after the hearings that he had made detailed statements to investigators, adding that in the case of his client, it is about one single transaction.

“Mr Dragne made detailed statements. He was not at the company when this alleged transaction was made. We are talking about a single transaction, a single payment, but a business operator could have signed thousands of tax documents since 2013. I guess it an enviable situation that after thousands of papers examined, only this bill of 200,000 lei was found amiss,” said Vasii.

On the other hand, she claimed that Dragnea’s son had no longer been a shareholder in the pig farm since the beginning of the year, but according to the Companies Registry, shareholders in SC Ferma Salcia SA are Stefan Valentin Dragnea – 90 percent; Ilie Dragne – 10 percent, the director general and the farm’s administrator.

On Thursday, prosecutors and police officers raided the headquarters and outlets of several companies, but also at several individual homes in an investigation of tax evasion that would have led to the national budget being more than 39 million lei defrauded. The Salcia farm was among the locations where the searches took place.

According to a press statement from the General Prosecutor’s Office, searches were carried out in 80 locations – registered offices and outlets of some companies, as well as the addresses of persons who coordinate the companies’ business.

“From the evidence to so far regarding the tax evasion offense, it has resulted that in the bookkeeping of 12 companies operating in the fields of construction, facility management, waste processing and pig breeding, in 2010-2016, fictitious spending was booked in order to avoid the payment of rates and taxes to the national budget, which led to the national budget being defrauded out of 39,873,671 lei, the equivalent of 9,079,017 euros, of which 15,815,202 lei in reduced profit taxes and 24,058,469 lei in illegally VAT deductions,” reads the statement.