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Businesspeople disputing the alleged debts they owe the Tax Administration

EMILIA OLESCU (Translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)
Ziarul BURSA #English Section /

Businesspeople disputing the alleged debts they owe the Tax Administration

Ioan Niculae: "Galaxy Tobacco has no debts towards the state"  

The cigarette maker is listed with the biggest arrear to the state budget on the list of major debtors issued by the ANAF

The courts have irrevocably decided the canceling of this debt, as, according to Niculae, that debt represents a state aid for the former SNTR

Tender and Comănescu deny the debts from the list of the ANAF

The list of major state debtors, at the end of the first semester, published by the National Tax Administration (ANAF) raises some questions, because every time it is published, the companies included in it dispute the numbers.

Businesspeople Ioan Niculae, Ovidiu Tender and Gabriel Comănes­cu, who have companies in this chart of debtors, claim that the records of the Tax Administration have no connection to reality.

Galaxy Tobacco has no debts towards the state, says businessman Ioan Niculae, the owner of the cigarette maker. Meanwhile, the National Tax Administration (ANAF), states that Galaxy Tobacco is the largest debtor to the consolidated budget, with a debt of over 550 million de lei.

Ioan Niculae said that the outstanding amount which is featured in the records of the ANAF should have been deleted since back in 2o12: "Galaxy Tobacco has no debts towards the state budget. This is actually the state aid granted by law to the former Romanian Tobacco National Company (Societatea Naţionala Tutunul Românesc - SNTR) which the ANAF recorded as a debt owed by Galaxy Tobacco".

"We have won the lawsuit against the tax administration. Last year, the Supreme Court Of Justice has decided irrevocably and finally that this amount should be deleted from the records of the ANAF, but Şerban Pop (ed. note: the former head of the ANAF) refused".

In May last year, the experts of law firm "Boştină şi Asociaţii", announced in a press release that the rights of Galaxy Tobacco (the former Societatea Naţionala Tutunul Românesc SA) arising from the privatization contract concluded in 2004 had been acknowledged by the court.

The aforementioned press release was saying: "In 2009, instead of enacting the fiscal facilities which had been granted to the company by the law, the ANAF, once again burdened the company with a very large debt of approximately 500,000,000 lei, representing various taxes as well as delayed payment penalties, amount which soon after doubled, through the updating of the delayed payment penalties.

Through the ruling issued on May 4th, 2012, the High Court of Cassation and Justice has issued an irrevocable ruling in the lawsuit between Galaxy Tobacco and the ANAF, by rejecting the appeal of the latter. The ruling requires the ANAF to implement the facilities which were granted to SC Galaxy Tobacco and to stop any actions intended to collect these amounts".

According to the National Tax Administration Agency, Galaxy Tobacco received tax payment facilities.

Ioan Niculae also told us that he also has an ongoing lawsuit with the ANAF for another amount of approximately 35 million lei, allegedly owed by another one of his companies Interagro SRL, which is also included on the list of major debtors, with the mention of foreclosure against it.

"This a VAT settlement, we have an ongoing lawsuit with the ANAF, We have actually won the initial lawsuit, but the ruling is not yet final", Mr. Niculae said.

Ioan Niculae is not the only one to challenge the lists of debtors drawn up by the ANAF.

Both Ovidiu Tender, and Gabriel Comănescu told us that the alleged debts recorded for the companies they own - Tender SA (approximately 18 million lei) and, Grup Servicii Petroliere (3.7 million lei) respectively, and Upetrom 1 Mai (16.8 million lei) have no reason to exist in the records of the Tax Administration.

Mr. Tender explained to us that the amount in question is already being disputed and that an on-principle agreement concerning its rescheduling was recently given, and the legal proceedings for dealing with the situation will be initiated.

Gabriel Comănescu mentioned that the debts which show up on the lists of the ANAF at the end of the first quarter have been paid and said that "Upetrom, which is a major company, can't pay all of its debts at certain fixed dates".

By the time the newspaper went to print, the ANAF had not yet sent us its opinion on the situation of Galaxy Tobacco, an opinion which we had asked for yesterday, following the statements made by Ioan Niculae.

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