The Albanian government has fined Bankers Petroleum with a record-breaking penalty of 120 million EUR for tax evasion.
This is the highest fine ever issued in Albania, and it comes as a result of a two-year investigation carried out by the General Customs Directory.
From 2014 to 2018, Bankers Petroleum has evaded 30 million EUR in excise for raw materials, which is used for the production of crude oil. This is about the half-prepared fuel, called “solar”, and which is used to process crude oil.
In 2014, the Albanian government decided to tax solar through excise, suspecting that the product, although it was declared as raw material, was being sold in the market, creating this way a giant tax evasion scheme.
But even the law couldn’t bring the tax evasion scheme to an end. The cause for this was a decision of the Administrative Court in December 2014, which repealed two administrative acts from the Customs Directory, which aimed to collect the excise from Bankers.
This decision disoriented the Customs Directory for several years, although the Ministry of Finances insisted to collect the taxes.
By the end of 2016, the former Minister of Finances made an official request to the former Customs Director, Belinda Ikonomi, to implement the law and collect the 9obligation from Bankers, since the Administrative Court decision for a concrete case would be unable to block the implementation of the law.
The interim Minister of the Democratic Party, Helga Vukaj, asked the same thing on July 2017.
The conflict between the state and the company made way for a detailed investigation in 2017, which went on for two years.
According to this investigation made by the Customs, Bankers Petroleum has avoided at least 30 million EUR of excise through the “solar” produced by ARMO at the Ballsh refinery.
Based on this obligation, they have implemented the 90 million EUR fine, as the law requires, taking the total sum to 120 mln.