TALLINN - The investigative division of the Tax and Customs Board in Estonia is investigating a case of widespread issuing of fictitious bills and has detained six individuals, LETA/National Broadcasting reports.
In connection with the criminal investigation, searches were organized in Tallinn and in the Harju County and the Latvian Financial Police searched the offices of a company in Riga. All six suspects were detained in Estonia and released after relevant investigative procedures were carried out.
The total turnover generated by six cover enterprises – i.e. so-called bill-mills – was, according to information collected in the course of pre-trial investigation, approximately 34 million euros and a total of 25 Estonian and Latvian enterprises used their services.
Two of the men involved with the case are suspected of having aided and abetted in tax crimes and of having belonged to a criminal organization. According to the suspicions, the said criminal organization organized the work of six cover enterprises from January 2011 to February 2012, with the objective of providing other companies with fictitious bills in order to lower their tax burden and give basis for return claims, in order to thus earn criminal revenue.
Northern Circuit Prosecutor Dmitri Teplych stated that the exact amount of unpaid taxes is to be determined in the course of investigation. “This is certainly an extraordinarily voluminous criminal case. The suspects operated during a long period of time, in two different countries and these facts have made investigating the crime much more complicated,” he added.
Head of the investigative division of the Tax and Customs Board Jaan Riima stated that the suspects were on investigators’ radars for quite a long time. “As they were very discreet in their operations, it was extremely difficult and time-consuming to gather evidence. I would like to hereby emphasize the very good cooperation with the Latvian Financial Police that helped us to put a stop to these criminals’ actions outside Estonia,” he noted.