Controversial energy trading company in Romania charged with tax evasion
Energy Holding, which used to be one of the biggest energy trading companies in Romania, has been charged with tax evasion and embezzlement, according to judicial sources quoted by Agerpres.
The company is being accused of having bought overpriced land plots from individual investors, including controversial Lebanese businessman Said Baaklini, who was sentenced to 4 and a half years of jail time, in December 2015, for illegal VAT reimbursements. Energy Holding apparently used these land purchases to dodge paying taxes worth over EUR 6 billion.
The case is conducted by the Prosecutors Office attached to the Bucharest Court of Appeal. The investigators raided Energy Holding’s headquarters on August 4 and picked up documents.
Energy Holding was founded by Romanian businessman Bogdan Buzaianu, whose godfather was none other than Dan Ioan Popescu, the powerful minister of industry in Adrian Nastase’s cabinet. Buzaianu officially sold Energy Holding to a Swiss private bank Societe Bancaire Privee in 2006. A company registered in the Netherlands, BV Marken Investment & Trading MIT, took over 95% of Energy Holding’s shares in 2009.
Energy Holding benefitted for years from a very favorable deal with state-owned electricity producer Hidroelectrica. The trader bought electricity from Hidroelectrica at very low prices and sold it to its clients. In 2008, Energy Holding had a net profit of EUR 24.4 million at a turnover of EUR 227 million, while Hidroelectrica had a profit of less than EUR 20 million.
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