Police detain four in restaurant tax fraud case

Take note – story published 6 years ago

Latvia's State Police on June 12 swooped the Vairāk saules restaurant chain, which owns six eateries in Rīga. Four people have been detained and a whopping 34 searches were carried out - in restaurants and residences of the people involved in the case - reports LTV. 

The raid is related to possibly rigged cash registers, using which, investigators estimate, the state has been defrauded of €1.5 million in taxes. This is, or was, a widespread practice in the food industry that has seen many eateries paying fines over the past few years, chiefly in the Gan Bei tax fraud case

The raided restaurants are currently out of service, with signs "closed due to technical reasons" found posted on the eateries' doors. 

Police have started a criminal case, and they say that the company has been rigging bookkeeping data since 2016. During the searches, they confiscated documents and cash registers. 

According to the company's owner the police raid was carried out following a tip-off.

"It was absolutely unjustified. I know this for sure. It's not that they won't be able to find anything; they simply can't, because we don't engage in such practices," said Endijs Bērziņš, who also claimed the country's tax service had checked their cash registers a year ago. 

The company on June 13 called a press conference with the Association of Hotels and Restaurants and the Employers Confederation. Vairāk saules say that the police have maliciously turned against the restaurant chain.

The Association of Hotels and Restaurants of Latvia expressed concern over the massive scale of the searches, saying that the company has already lost tens of thousands of euros as its six restaurants are closed.

Last year, Vairāk saules had a turnover of €4.7 million, paying about €0.8 million in taxes and employing 161 people, according to Lursoft data. 

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