Bulgarian Energy Tycoon Fully Acquitted of Tax Evasion
The Sofia Appellate Court (SAC) has conclusively acquitted energy tycoon Hristo Kovachki of tax evasion to the tune of BGN 16.7 M.
The ruling revoked the 3-year suspended sentence with five years of probation imposed by the Sofia City Court on April 14, 2011 for crimes against the tax system.
Kovachki was sentenced to a fine of BGN 20 000 plus court costs amounting to BGN 42 586.
The prosecuting authority had insisted that the businessman be sentenced to 5 years of imprisonment, citing evidence for over 80 fictitious deals for the supply of machines and food products sealed with four companies owned by Kovachki between 2005 and 2008 and for illegally obtained tax credit.
SAC's verdict is final and is not subject to appeal.
In the beginning of 2012, it emerged that Bulgaria's Ministry of Energy, Economy and Tourism had filed a total of six lawsuits against companies in which Kovachki is involved.
Three of the lawsuits were terminated after the debtors paid the concession fees.
Kovachki, whose party failed to win seats in 2009 parliamentary election, has diverse business interests, ranging from manufacturing to banking and from energy to retail.
He owns the Thermal Plants "Maritsa 3" in Dimitrovgrad and "Bobov Dol", several mines, as well as the heating utilities in Vratsa, Burgas, Veliko Tarnovo and Pleven, the grocery chain "Evropa" and the "Atomenergoremont" company.
Believed to be one of the richest men in the Balkans, Kovachki has denied any wrongdoing.
The court froze at the end of September 2009 BGN 143 M in assets of Kovachki, while he was on trial.
The ruling came at the demand of the state body, dealing with illegally acquired property.
Should Kovachki have been found guilty, the property in question was to be confiscated.
Tax evasion by the rich is one of the main causes of the major problems in Greece. In fact it is a cause of financial problems in just about every country. Taxing the poor and low paid just means that less money is available to spend locally and more shops and small businesses fail - maybe that is the idea