Revenue service takes fuel company's license as punishment

  • 2001-10-11
  • BNS
RIGA - Latvia's State Revenue Service's licensing commission revoked on Oct. 4 the wholesale license of one of Latvia's largest fuel trading companies, Viada, after employees there allegedly hindered inspection work by the financial police.

Viada still holds a valid license for fuel retail sales, which accounts for most of the company's operations, Viada's President Viktors Skuratovs told BNS.

Viada intends to appeal the decision to State Revenue Service Director General Andrejs Sonciks and said it would go to court if necessary, according to Skuratovs. He called the decision to withdraw the wholesale license "emotional."

The conflict arose when in September financial police were carrying out inspections at the Viada office and asked for accounting documents that police say company employees refused to provide.

Viada violated regulations that require any company dealing in the fuel trade to ensure authorized personnel from the State Revenue Service access to documents on company production, trade and storage, as well as to company offices during working hours.

Regulations also require that the State Revenue Service can annul a license if a company hinders authorities in carrying out their duties, the State Revenue Service said in a press release Oct. 4.

"At a time when the state has problems with excise tax revenue and the State Revenue Service is increasingly controlling fuel companies, some companies still turn out to be light-minded and irresponsible," Sonciks said in the release.

On a subsequent inspection the authorities discovered that Viada had not documented two payments of around $2,000 each.

Viada Director General and co-owner Alla Moroza previously said that financial police had arrived at the office and without explanation demanded the previous year's balance sheets, though this had already been submitted to the State Revenue Service on time and with no violations noted.

The owners of Viada believe that the claims made against the company are biased and ungrounded.

Viada posted a net turnover of 21.13 million lats ($34 million) in 2000, according to financial results, and is listed among the top six fuel companies in Latvia.

Viada operates 20 service stations mainly around the capital of Riga, taking up around 8 percent to 9 percent of the official Latvian oil product market. Last year the company made a profit of 390,100 lats.