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Six people charged in major scheme to hide taxes

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Six people charged in major scheme to hide taxes

Photo: BGNES

The prosecuting magistracy has brought money laundering and tax evasion charges against six persons, said here on Saturday Deputy Prosecutor General Ivan Geshev during a news conference at the Specialized Prosecution Office's (SPO) building. Geshev's briefing following Friday's specialized operation against tax-related crimes and money laundering, during which hotels owned by businessman Vetko Arabadjiev were searched. Huge sums of money were found during the searches - currently in the excess of 10 million leva in cash, Geshev said, explaining that the money was in euro and leva and was discovered across homes, hotels, offices and banks.

The SPO said on Friday evening that searches are carried out across the offices of Sofia's Marinela Hotel and Plovdiv's Maritsa Hotel, which are owned by Arabadjiev. The operation is against an organized crime group, created with the purpose of large scale tax evasion through falsifying tax documentation.

Among the arrested are two women, who were involved with the group's organization and accounting. Vetko Arabadjiev and his wife Marinela have been put on the national wanted persons list. A European arrest warrant has already been issued for them in the Schengen information system. According to investigators, the two are currently in France. Their son, Vulcho Arabadjiev, has been arrested and charged with money laundering. A large part of the money was discovered across banks in safe deposit boxes belonging to Vulcho Arabadjiev, Geshev said.

To avoid paying VAT, the companies have declared in their accounting registers commercial transactions involving dozens of ghost and shell companies.

The latest search concluded early Saturday and resulted in the seizure of six luxury cars, roughly estimated to be worth between 5 and 10 million leva, Geshev said, explaining that the authorities will investigate how these cars were acquired.

A total of ten people were initially detained on Friday, some of whom were questioned as witnesses, Geshev said.

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