Business connected to Welfare Minister accused of tax evasion

A former employee at the Monēta retail company, which belongs to the husband of Welfare Minister Ramona Petraviča (KPV LV), told Delfi that he witnessed tax evasion at the company.

Dainis Prātiņš, a driver at the company, said he had received part of his pay in cash – a widespread practice in Latvia – while he was working at the company in 2013. Prātiņš said he had asked Aleksandrs Petravičs, the Welfare Minister's husband, to pay all taxes accordingly but that he had refused.

He said that while he had received part of pay as an official wage and part was handed to him by Petravičs, the Welfare Minister had been present and must have been in the know. 

"It's unclear to me how [Petraviča] has made it this far with a reputation like this," he said appearing on Delfi. He also asked the minister to resign.

Prātiņš also claimed that he had been told similar tax evasion practices continued at Monēta as recently as a year-and-a-half ago.

The State Revenue Service had earlier received anonymous notices, reported in the press, over possible tax evasion at Monēta, where the current Welfare Minister was working as finance director. Petraviča has denied the allegations repeatedly.

There are five Monēta stores in Saldus municipality. 

Ramona Petraviča became Welfare Minister in late January as part of Krišjānis Kariņš' (New Unity) cabinet. 

Asked about the controversy after a government meeting, Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš declined to say the minister should resign, instead suggesting she should talk to the tax authority to clarify the matter and sort things out.

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