Financial intelligence, the Central Bank of the Russian Federation and the Federal Tax Service have uncovered one of the largest shadow platforms for tax evasion and concealment of restaurant and cafe income across Russia.
The organizers launched their own “showroom” in Moscow, giving store owners replacement boxes and access to an app to manage hidden income.
This is reported by RBC with reference to sources familiar with the audit materials, and confirmed in tax, financial intelligence and the Bank of Russia.
According to Rosfinmonitoring, several companies that provided payment services, as well as several credit institutions, participated in the shadow agreements. They added that the scheme may be related to money laundering.
The Federal Tax Service said all participants in the scheme have been identified: both tax-evading beneficiaries and intermediary companies.
- The criminal plot allowed the owners of catering establishments to use terminals and cash registers that were delivered to third parties. “This allowed them not to credit funds to their accounts, but to redirect them to the accounts of travel companies and large car dealerships to buy business income from them in cash or transfer it to personal accounts,” the Central Bank explained.
- To confuse the payments, participants in the scheme went “through a chain of at least three credit organizations, and two processing companies were artificially included in the inflow and outflow of cash,” the tax authority added.
- By transferring money to third-party organizations, participants in the scheme exchanged non-cash money for uncollected cash. According to the Federal Tax Service, this allowed restaurants and cafes to pay gray wages and maintain financial performance at the level necessary to receive tax benefits.
- The “solution” turned out to be popular: the organizers even opened a “showroom” in Moscow, where they negotiated with customers and signed documents “for the rental of replacement cash counters, ephemeral information services and shadow acquisition” .
- At the same location, restaurant owners were helped to install an app to manage “hidden revenue.” After that, technical specialists came to the institution to install POS terminals and cash registers.
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