Ex Director of Bulgaria's Customs Agency Accuses MP of VAT Fraud

Domestic | February 13, 2014, Thursday // 11:46|  views

Vanyo Tanov, former Director of Bulgaria's Customs Agency, photo by BGNES

Former Customs Agency head Vanyo Tanov has accused Yordan Tsonev, MP from Bulgarian liberal party Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), of VAT fraud.

In a Thursday interview for private TV station Nova TV, Tanov announced that there were recordings of a conversation in which a minister from the three-way coalition government had ordered a senior official of the National Revenue Agency (NRA) to recover VAT worth BGN 1.6 – 1.8 M to companies owned by Tsonev.

Tanov, as cited by the BGNES news agency, argued that the case had taken place in 2005 or 2006 and that the recordings had been preserved.

He explained that the minister had assured the NRA official that there was nothing to worry about because the companies were not owned by Tsonev but by his proxies.

He rejected accusations of Tsonev that he had covered up evasion of excise duty in the production of bootleg alcohol by late Mihail Mihov, owner of the Ledenika brewery.

Tanov reminded that an inspection at the Ledenika brewery in 2009 had uncovered evasion of excise duty to the tune of over BGN 1 M and the license of the brewery had been terminated.

He underscored that the brewery had been producing illegal alcohol for 4 years prior to the probe and that the violations had taken place prior to his appointment as Customs Agency Director.

The Ledenika brewery was owned by Mihail Mihov, who died in March 2011.

Mihov's name made headlines in January 2011 in connection with the so-called Tapegate scandal.

In early January 2011, the Galeria weekly released three tapes of discrediting conversations between then-Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, then-Customs Agency head Vanyo Tanov, then-Finance Minister Simeon Djankov, and then-Deputy Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov.

In one of the conversations Borisov was heard ordering Tanov to immediately pull out customs inspectors out of the "Ledenika" brewery owned by Mihail Mihov because he had promised the businessman not to bother him.

Borisov argued in Parliament that his call about Mihov had been ordered by former President Georgi Parvanov.

The businessman was later found dead in a hotel room in Pravets on March 30, 2011 after suffering a heart attack.

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Tags: Vanyo Tanov, Customs Agency head, VAT fraud, Yordan Tsonev, Movement for Rights and Freedoms, DPS, Mihail Mihov, Misho the Beer, Misho Birata, Ledenika, excise duty, Tapegate


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