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Prosecutor's office demands punishment of EUR 10 mln for Tartu Mill

BC, Tallinn, 12.01.2018.Print version
The South district prosecutor's office wants the Tartu county court to mete out a pecuniary punishment of 10 million euros to grain processing company AS Tartu Mill for alleged VAT fraud and the court is to announce a decision at the beginning of February 2018, reports LETA/BNS.

Prosecutor Marek Vahing asked the court to find all three defendants guilty and to hand down a conditional jail sentence of four years, with a probation period of four years, to Priit Saar, a prison sentence of nine years to Leonid Dulub and a pecuniary punishment of 10 million euros to Tartu Mill.


The defense lawyers of all defendants asked the court to find their clients not guilty. The court is to announce its verdict on Feb. 2.


The proceeding of Meelis Jurimae was separated from the larger proceeding because he struck a deal with the prosecutor's office. On Nov. 15 he was found guilty of belonging to a criminal group and for helping to submit false data in tax declarations. He was meted out a conditional sentence of three years, with a probation period of three years. He also has to pay 1,319 euros of procedural expenses.


At the court proceeding which started last September Dulub, Saar and Tartu Mill did not plead guilty.


Tartu Mill has been charged with participation in a 1.2 million euro VAT fraud. The company considers the charge unjustified, arguing that only a former employee was involved.


According to the statement of charges, Tartu Mill submitted false data in its VAT returns from January 2012 through September 2013. The company's former purchasing manager is accused of running the fraudulent scheme with the help of an eight-member criminal group. The collected evidence indicates that members of the ring used more than 30 front companies to declare transactions which in reality did not take place.


The fronts billed Tartu Mill for those ostensible transactions and the company transferred the money into the accounts of the cover companies controlled by the criminal group from where the cash moved to members of the group including the purchasing manager. The cash was used to pay the real suppliers of grain and rape and fund the group's operation, including payments to its members.


Six members of the group were convicted in a plea bargain by the first-tier Tartu county court already in 2014.

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