ARMO, a refinery of debts. Hundreds of millions of unpaid taxes, pardoned year after year

28/12/2017 20:08

On September 2016, the Albanian Prime Minister, Edi Rama, said that the agreement for taking ARMO back to work was a successful one, bringing a final solution to the crisis of the oil refinery.

ARMO was rented by IRTC, a company registered in the Virgin Islands fiscal paradise.

“Serious American investors have undertaken to continue its work, to improve the conditions, and I trust that the situation will change”, Rama said On September 2nd, 2016.

But the situation didn’t change. An official report of the Ministry of Finances showed that IRTC has created more than 30 million EUR of tax debts, while confidential sources say that the real figure is almost double.

Customs data show that ARMO has produced and sold 156,000 tons of oil in the Albanian market, collecting more than 220 million EUR. 100 of this should have been paid to the government for the excise, circulation tax and VAT, but ARMO has paid only the excise at 50 million EUR and has evaded the rest.

Confidential sources say that with ARMO there is the same scenario as with Taci Oil, or the Azerbaijani businessmen who exploited it after Taci. The refinery is being used by offshore companies that don’t pay taxes and leave the country with a huge gap in the budget.

The owners of the company are unknown because they come from fiscal paradises. But the opposition has accused that they are local businessmen, close to the Prime Minister.

Jorida Tabaku said on September 2nd that the scheme is the same as with the Karpen Port and many other assets. “Offshore companies stealing the assets of Albanians, but this time there is a name, and the businessman is Besnik Sula, a friend of Edi Rama”, Tabaku said on September 2nd, 2016.

The ARMO crisis exploded again. The Workers protested in front of the Ministry of Energy because their salaries have not been paid yet. Their salary actually is a very small amount compared to the hundreds of millions of Euros that they should have paid to the state.

The ARMO scenario has been repeated several times with the blessing of all governments, from 2009 to today. The question is what will happen with the recent debts? Hundreds of millions of Euros have been donated in time. Then why is ARMO still being kept operative?

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