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Authority takes 1,080 steps related to one-crown bonds-CzechFinMin

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Prague, April 24 (CTK) – The Czech Financial Administration has taken 1080 control steps related to one-crown bonds and imposed additional taxes worth a total of 87 million crowns, Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) told journalists after a cabinet meeting today.

He said he is convinced that he, his deputy minister and Financial Administration head Martin Janecek submitted a comprehensive report on the affair to the cabinet, which was previously requested by PM Bohuslav Sobotka’s Social Democrats (CSSD).

Sobotka reacted saying that Babis’s answer did not satisfy him.

Babis said he does not know whether the Social Democrats feel satisfied by his response in a situation where they permanently try to politicise the issue.

He said he considers the repeated opening of the issue an organised campaign against him.

“The Financial Administration has been checking one-crown bonds since the beginning. They have taken about 1080 steps in this area, there is no threat of a delay. We have checked 233 firms and imposed additional taxes worth 87 million crowns. If they [inspectors] met with a suspected crime, they will definitely lodge a criminal complaint,” Babis said.

According to Babis’s report, which CTK has at its disposal, the Financial Administration has made 1061 checks in this respect.

In most of the cases concerned, there is no threat that statute limitations might prevent the imposition of an additional tax, since the launch of a tax check makes the original three-year deadline start anew from the beginning, Babis writes in the report.

The deadline may be repeatedly pushed forward and run for a total of ten years at the most, which is by 2023, the report says.

On Friday, the CSSD called on the Financial Administration, a body subordinated to the Financial Ministry, to release the result of its checks of one-crown bonds that firms issued in 2012 and that were not subject to taxation.

According to Sobotka, the issuing of such bonds might have been motivated by a tax evasion effort and the possible tax evasion would become statute-barred this summer.

The media and the public focus on the one-crown bonds in connection with Babis, who bought one-crown bonds of Agrofert, a giant holding he owned, worth 1.5 billion crowns in 2013.

In March, the Chamber of Deputies asked Babis to refute a “serious” suspicion of tax evasion by the end of April.

Babis reportedly wants to give an answer to the lawmakers by Friday.

He said today he does not understand why he should be threatened with sacking as finance minister over this affair.

He said cooperation of the three partners in the centre-left government, which also includes the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), has not been functioning since mid-2016 when the CSSD pushed through a controversial police shakeup.

The possibility to issue untaxed one-crown bonds was introduced in the first half of the 1990s. Former finance minister Miroslav Kalousek (2006-13) used it to issue state bonds for people. Later, business companies started issuing such bonds as well.

The one-crown bond system was abolished by a law in 2013.

($1=25.179 crowns)


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