RMGC in wider tax fraud probe

Newsroom 04/12/2013 | 16:24

Rosia Montana Gold Corporation (RMGC), the company aiming to start Europe’s biggest gold mining project in Rosia Montana, has been included in an ongoing tax fraud investigation worth EUR 35 million involving a former government adviser.

According to media reports, RMGC has paid over RON 1 million (around EUR 224,684) to Kadok Interprest, a ghost company that was part of an illegal chain of firms designed to generate hefty returns through artificial transactions.

Catalin Hosu, RMGC’s spokesperson, said that prosecutors started a criminal investigation against a company from which RMGC acquired goods and services. The Ploiesti Court of Appeal decided to extend the investigation against all companies that had a contractual relation with the firm accused of tax fraud.

“At present, the extension of the investigation refers to 43 companies, including RMGC, and does include any persons employed by the company or from its management,” said the spokespersons quoted by TV station Digi 24.

Authorities have started a criminal investigation against RMGC for tax evasion and for aiding and abetting money laundering, according to Roxana Armaselu, a prosecutor quoted by Mediafax newswire.

Prosecutors are currently investigating 132 companies involved in the fraud case and seven persons have been arrested this October. They are charged with tax evasion and money laundering. Marcel Pavaleanu, a former employee of the government’s general secretariat, is among the arrested suspects.

The fresh allegations against RMGC, controlled by Canada’s Gabriel Resources, comes amid talks in Parliament regarding the update of the mining law. In a report by a special committee on the Rosia Montana project, MPs suggested Romania has to improve the legal framework for mining activities before passing the Rosia Montana bill.

RMGC has been trying for 15 years to secure all permits to kick off mining in the Apuseni Mountains. The environmental permit could eventually be issued after the final vote in Parliament.

The company was accused by PM Ponta this September of bribing politicians, without presenting any evidence. RMGC rejected all allegations, claiming its relations with Romanian politicians were transparent and legal.

Ovidiu Posirca

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