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Following hot on the heels of a recent announcement by Romania’s new Prime Minister Mihai-Razvan Ungureanu of plans to clamp down on rampant tax evasion in the country, around 30 individuals have been arrested on suspicion of tax avoidance amounting to an estimated EUR20m (USD27m).
According to the public prosecutor’s office, specialized in the fight against organized crime, DIICOT, the latest operation was aimed at dismantling an organized criminal group specialized in tax evasion and money laundering with “particularly serious” implications.
The arrests follow just ten days after Ungureanu underlined the fact that the fight against tax evasion is a goal of “national security”. Highlighting the ongoing problem of tax collection in Romania, Ungureanu revealed that public revenues currently represent around 33% of GDP, well below the European average of 40%.
Ungureanu insisted that stepping up the fight against tax evasion, with a particular focus on the illegal trade in alcohol and vegetable products, must serve to yield additional tax revenues of at least 1.5% of GDP, and he underscored his “unconditional support” for applying any measures necessary in order to achieve this goal.
The country’s Justice Minister Catalin Predoiu emphasized that Romanian legislation is adequate enough to combat tax evasion, although the minister also alluded to plans by the justice ministry to conduct “a rigorous analysis” of the current application of the legislation and to propose any necessary modifications to the government.
Romanian Finance Minister Bogdan Dragoi explained that strengthening measures to combat tax evasion would enable the government to be more flexible on investment spending, while strictly adhering to the budget deficit target in 2012 of 1.9% of GDP.
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