Orlen not only acquired the assets from Lotos, but also inherited the liabilities of Grupa Lotos. It turns out that there are still pending proceedings as the state treasury wants to recover PLN 92.5 million, including, among other things, the tax that Lotos contractors have not paid on transactions for the purchase of vital components for years.
The case began several years ago, when fraudsters in cahoots with Lotos set up the entire structure of related companies, whose only goal was to withdraw VAT. As we found out, the Lotos were to make several purchases of vital components in just-founded companies, omitting world giants. (These companies have been on the market for a short time – their job was just to work out a fake VAT refund.) In addition, the Lotus Group did not check its contractors who were completely unknown in the fuel and petrochemical market.
Along with the merger of Orlen and Lotos – as PKN Orlen spokeswoman Edita Ulkovich admitted on RMF FM – The company acquired not only Lotos assets, but also liabilities to the state treasury Related to the settlement of value-added tax in fuel trade in 2014 and 2015.
Lotto tax settlements from those years are currently under tax scrutiny. Of course, we cannot provide details, but according to information in the financial statements of Lotos for the first quarter of 2022, the company has shown a reserve in connection with the actions of the tax inspection authorities. with a total amount of PLN 92.5 million Orlin’s spokeswoman tells us.
This means that this is the amount claimed by the state treasury against Lotos.
A group of companies that cooperated in the VAT fraud chain issued uncovered invoices. Our information shows that The permanent “trick” was to be a CD scam. The value of licenses for lyrics and music can be set quite freely, so a series of companies selling “records” artificially increased their value until the VAT on the sale of these recordings was the same as the VAT on the planned sale of vital components.
As the person who investigated this procedure unofficially admits to us, it looked like this, the records never left the warehouses, and subsequent sales were only on invoices – they became more and more new and larger.
The companies deducted the so-called boardroom VAT from the tax, which was exactly the value of the VAT on vital components. next one The money is often taken abroad, where it is paid in cash and goes to the beneficiaries and creators of this criminal arrangement.
Paweł Olechnowicz, president of Lotos in the years 2002 – 2016, when asked by RMF FM if he was aware of this practice, answered succinctly: Do you think that in a company that employs nearly 5,000 people and has 17 companies, the boss knows about such matters?
It is worth remembering here that a few years ago the media wrote this Lotos paid the price for the mistakes and deceptions of its contractors. This was the case, for example, in the case of a company whose supervisory board is chaired by Riyad Haidar, a well-known physician and politician. The media reported that the tax office questioned the HBS settlements, but Lotos had to pay back VAT in the amount of PLN 30 million.
In total, Lotos has already paid more than PLN 200 million in delayed VAT to the state budget in this case.
In 2015, the Tax Inspection Office fined Lotos PLN 240 million. And although the company paid, because interest was calculated on the unpaid fine, its authorities claimed that these were not the crimes of Lotos. So this decision was appealed, but the sentence was upheld.
Paweł Olechnowicz, also today, believes that Lotos has been unjustly accused. It was two or three corporations that caused these tax crimes, not Lotus. Lotus did not cause what he was accused of. Either these companies were liquidated, or they were in bankruptcy, I don’t remember now, so the bureau simply did not have access to these companies – He convinces and addskisa: So he decided Lotus responds.
The former head of the company assesses it unequivocally: Lotos was the only company from which the treasury could recover any money, which is why Lotos was fined.
However, according to our information, the Tax Inspectorate argued that Lotos should have known of such a practice, because the prices of vital components were underestimated, and the company did not want – as they explained – to check its contractors.
There was no reason not to do business with these companies Olechnowicz refutes these allegations. As far as I remember, these were not “krzaki” firms that had just appeared on the market, but had been in operation for a number of years. They offered and traded vital ingredients– explains the former head of Lotus.
So we asked Leszek Wich, President and Director of the Polish Organization for the Oil Industry and Trade in 2009-2019.
I suppose there were no objections to concluding contracts with these companies. But perhaps at some point their internal monitoring system failed – Wieciecha tells us.
The former head of Lotus mentions it as well The company was investigated not only by the tax control office, but also by the services, which did not solve anything.
No point of reference has been found that would indicate that anyone at Lotus was aware of what was going on with this VAT, so that would be the basis for the statement that “Lotus knew about it, and yet participated in it”. It wasn’tOlechnowicz convinces.
Apparently, in Lotos, during Olechnowicz’s presidency, An internal report has also been preparedwhich was to check whether anyone in the company had neglected or ignored the procedures, which would have held Lotos liable.
And it didn’t show anything. It was found that the fault was not on Lotus’s part, no one intentionally did anything like this here – confirms Paul Olechnowicz.
However, the proceedings are still pending as the state treasury demands more money back. In total, it is 92.5 million Polish zlotys. According to the unofficial information we received, it seems that The liabilities for the back VAT alone are about PLN 30 million.
Lotos has a provision in its budget for tax inspection procedures. We have taken these commitments and of course our services deliver on them Orlin’s spokeswoman tells us.
The former head of Lotos, despite the fact that he has repeatedly spoken out against the current authorities or the merger of Orlen with Lotos, says today on RMF FM that PKN Orlen should bring the matter to an end.
Of course, Orlen must fight to have that fine withdrawn. The case must continue, which in my opinion leads to a favorable outcome for the company, because the penalties for Lotus were imposed wronglyOlechnowicz confirms.
In the years when VAT scams occurred, the shadow economy was still big and strong. The change can be seen in the fuel market after the introduction of the so-called fuel package, the provisions of which entered into force in 2017. It was intended to reduce the gray area.
Then there was a very dynamic 20% increase in fuel consumption in Poland – says PKN Orlen spokeswoman Edyta Olkowicz in an interview with RMF FM. Apart from the effects of economic growth, it is estimated that thanks to the fight against the shadow economy, the legal market for diesel oil increased by 30 percent at that time. he adds.
In our case, total counting from the second quarter of 2016 to the second quarter of 2018, Orlen Group revenue increased approximately 40%. Olkowicz enumerates. In 2018, it was 40 percent higher than it was two years ago.
And this shows how huge the turnover of “left” fuel was – theoretically, almost a third of the fuel on the Polish market came from crime.
The difference can also be seen in the value added tax that Orlen pays to the state budget. In 2015, the concern paid about PLN 25 billion in VAT, in 2021 – PLN 35 billion. It should be noted here that in 2021, fuel prices were increasing by about PLN 1 per liter.
In total, since 2016, the PKN has paid about PLN 200 billion to the state budget. For comparison, in eight years, 2008-2016, when the fight against the shadow economy was not so effective, PLN 162 billion went to the budget. It was PLN 38 billion less – concludes the spokeswoman for PKN Orlen.
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