Law catches up with tax evader

A MADRID businessman received prison sentences totalling 11 years and nine months for evading tax on the gas oil he sold.

The 56-year-old, identified only as E.T.M. received 21 months from the Almeria provincial court for an ongoing offence of false accounting.

The court imposed four further 30-month sentences for tax fraud. Between 2002 and 2006 he sold at least 3 million gallons of fuel to transport companies.

By not paying fuel tax, he defrauded the tax authority, Hacienda, of €7,699,307.8 the court ruled. E.T.M. has also been barred from receiving official funding, tax allowances or Social Security for five years.

The businessman acquired the gas oil through an elaborate network of non-existent or defunct companies or by citing fictional relations with other firms.

From his premises at Cantoria the fuel was then sold on with bogus invoices to validate its purchase and tax payments.

The set-up was so complex that the Guardia Civil and customs officials were hindered in their enquiries and E.M.T. was not arrested until June 2010.

The same court rejected public prosecution claims that E.M.T. had sold adulterated fuel which damaged the engines of lorries belonging to 13 companies.

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