Bulgaria Anti-Mafia Police Raid HQs of Litex Commerce

Business | May 10, 2012, Thursday // 17:26|  views

Businessman Grisha Ganchev, photo by BGNES

A large-scale inspection started Thursday morning at companies owned by Bulgarian businessman Grisha Ganchev.

The offices of the companies specialized in importing and processing sugar were raided by officers of the Chief Directorate for Combating Organized Crime (GDBOP), Economic Police and the National Revenue Agency (NRA).

The officers seized documents and IT equipment.

Asked to comment on the sudden check, Ganchev told journalists of 24 Hours daily that it had been part of an ongoing routine inspection of all companies in the sector.

He added that his staff had been fully cooperative with the police officers and had provided all of the requested documents.

Ganchev insisted that his companies were also suffering from grey businesses.

"We have reported the smugglers to the prosecuting authority," the head of the Litex conglomerate of companies added.

Meanwhile, journalists from Sofia-based media reported increased police presence in front of Litex's headquarters in the capital.

In another Thursday interview for Darik radio, Ganchev insisted that VAT was actually being drained by sugar companies based in Plovdiv, Karnobat and Sofia.

The businessman added that he was not worried about the inspection.

He said that the smuggling companies were 12.

Grisha Ganchev is one of the biggest sugar importers in the country and owns four out of a total of six sugar refineries in Bulgaria.

The plants are located in Ruse, Sofia, Burgas and Dolna Mitropolia.

Speaking in Parliament Thursday, Finance Minister Simeon Djankov announced that that an operation aimed at uncovering VAT fraud by companies in the sugar business was underway.

He explained that the operation targeted a notorious large-scale businessman from northern Bulgaria and vowed be arrests by the end of the day.

"Back in 2002-2003, there were reports by the National Revenue Agency (NRA) and a number of security structures showing that the state was being drained of VAT amounting to BGN 140-200 M each year through companies in the sugar business," the Finance Minister specified.

"I can confirm that two years of analytical activity yielded a concrete result this morning. I can only say that the case involves over 20 related firms. It is about a notorious large-scale Bulgarian businessman. Judging by the NRA's initial estimates, this will either eliminate or substantially reduce VAT fraud in the sector," Djankov noted.

The Interior Ministry and the NRA have not yet officially confirmed the staging of the VAT fraud operation.

Two days ago, Georgi Uzunov, owner of Gorna Oryahovitsa-based Zaharni Zavodi, a major manufacturer of sugar and sugar products, told Standard daily that he would file a complaint against Litex Commerce about abuse of dominant position.

Reminded that Ganchev owned four out of a total of six sugar refineries, Uzunov accused the businessman of violating the Competition Protection Act.

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Tags: Grisha Ganchev, Litex, Lovech, Sugar Factory, VAT fraud, Finance Minister Simeon Djankov, National Revenue Agency, NRA


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