Tax Avoidance on Luxury Cars Targeted by Customs
11 August 2013 - Défi Media Group
The police is on the verge of dismantling a network that bypasses the tax on imported luxury cars. Customs find themselves in the crosshairs of investigators. The procedure is almost set. Thierry Lagesse involved in the case of the Mercedes-Benz SLS 63 AMG, withdrew temporarily from the presidency of the Board of Groupe Mon Loisir.
There is an internal complicity in customs. The evaluation exercise for the Mercedes SLS 63 AMG was not done properly. The police are interested in customs who gave the green before the Mercedes SLS crosses the customs fire.
Five customs, including a charge of Information & Technology Unit, were interviewed. The CCID also questioned the shipbroker who presented the documents relating to the Mercedes at customs. They were all able to go home after questioning. Customs, which gave the final authorization for release this Mercedes will soon be called 'under warning'. Police favors the thesis of internal conspiracy.
Held last Monday, Seeburrun Ashish Kumar, 34, was again taken to the office of the CCID for interrogation on Friday. This teacher always exercise his right to silence. He just filed two affidavits in which there are two pictures of the Mercedes SLS in his yard at Camp Thorel. If, during the investigation, the police brings more evidence against Ashish Kumar Seeburrun, he might be prosecuted in a second charge, or 'false affidavit swearing'.
The day of his arrest, Ashish Kumar Seeburrun explained that he had informally
"Lent his Mercedes SLS Thierry Lagesse." Thereafter, he returned to his remarks to say he had received "a loan of Rs 11 million Thierry Lagesse." He had, he said, "four years to repay this debt." Thierry Lagesse had kept the Mercedes SLS AMG at home "as a guarantee." The suspect also reportedly said that he remained "Rs 6.8 million to pay Thierry Lagesse." The police made an application for an order of the judge in order to have access to bank accounts and phone records of the main protagonists.
"The Mercedes undervalued"
It appears that the suspect Ashish Kumar Seeburrun had never driven this Mercedes since his arrival in Mauritius. In a statement on Radio Plus, the father of the suspect had said: "Li (Seeburrun Ashish Kumar, Editor's note) that ek pan koz mwa. Mo pan mem watch lotto there (...) "
For its part, Dhanishwar Toolsee, director SS Motor Point, aged 32, was arrested last Tuesday. He confessed and explained the modus operandi (see below). In the presence of his lawyer, Mr. Joy Seewooram he has fully cooperated with the police. Dhanishwar Toolsee confessed that he "underestimated the Mercedes" and involved Thierry Lagesse and Ashish Kumar Seeburrun. He was taken to court in Port-Louis in a provisional charge of "conspiracy to defraud the State 'and got parole after paying a bail of Rs 20,000 and signed an acknowledgment of debt of Rs 100,000.
Looking to buy a luxury car? But you are barred by the tax imposed by the government. What to do? Still, as businessmen and wealthy professionals found the trick to avoid the tax. There is the option of undervaluation and 'Returning Citizen Scheme (RCS). The latter seems to be the best option.
Some people have used this method to get a 'excise duty' 85% at customs. They are now likely to pay dearly and even imprisonment if the police established that there is a conspiracy. A person found guilty of conspiracy risk imprisonment not exceeding 10 years and a fine not exceeding Rs 100,000. How do these people have it process? A companion offers undervaluation and other options to get around the tax. Cars can be selected on the Internet.
In this particular case, Dhanishwar Toolsee said "know Thierry Lagesse." He would, however, met in Cape Woe to discuss the case in December 2010. The website "autotrader.co.uk" had been proposed for choosing the car.
Dhanishwar Toolsee said he "presented the options Thierry Lagesse" that would have made it clear that he was thinking. The businessman would subsequently returned to him and informed him that he would "chose the Mercedes SLS 63 AMG. "
Dhanishwar Toolsee had, meanwhile, found a nominee: Ashish Kumar Seeburrun, a Mauritian company in the UK. This 'Ticketing Officer', who had to return home, had the right profile. Its 'Returning Citizen Scheme' would then be used. The negotiations were conducted by telephone.
An initial sum of £ 89,995 (Rs 4.3 million) for the payment of the Mercedes SLS would have been paid on account of SS Motor Point on request Thierry Lagesse according Dhanishwar Toolsee. And the rest were subsequently paid by different modalities.
Once in possession of the receipt of payment from the British dealer Bramley The Best Experience, Dhanishwar Toolsee would have gone in a cafe at the Caudan Waterfront to change the original bill, reducing it to £ 70,000 (Rs 3,341,800) instead of £ 143 500 (Rs 6,850,690). The name of Ashish Kumar Seeburrun was on the receipt.
The new Mercedes arrives in Mauritius from the UK in February 2011. Dhanishwar Toolsee goes to a shipbroker to present the false invoice. The broker, he goes to the customs procedures.
A 'short paid' Rs 7,966,850
The GT coupe imported from Britain cost around Rs 8 M. But at customs, it is a sum of Rs 6 million that was reported. With the excise duty of 85% for Returning Citizen Scheme, Rs 1.114 million were paid in taxes. Such a Mercedes costs, according to the MRA, Rs 16,066,492. This is so that the institution has a 'short paid' Rs 7,966,850. Note that there are only two Mercedes SLS 63 AMG are on our roads. The first, a red sports car, was sold a few months ago by the Iframac dealer.
In February, Mercedes-Benz can be found on our roads. However, this is not Seeburrun Ashish Kumar who is driving but Thierry Lagesse. The car is insured by the Mauritian Eagle Insurance. In case of accident, the owner would have to pay a sum of Rs 50,000 as 'excess fee'.
For this transaction, Dhanishwar Toolsee says he should have pocketed Rs 450,000. But he argues that it would hit that "Rs 150 000" to date. SS Motor Company would point at least eight large customers who have acquired cars (Porsche, BMW and Mercedes). The MRA has already read this list. At this point, Sergeant Bhundoo and his team working on the case of the Mercedes SLS. They will soon consider the case of a Porsche Panamera and Porsche Cayenne SUV. The investigation is under the supervision of ACP Vuddamalay.
The investigation of the MRA
Early 2011. MRA receives information to the effect that many people circumvent the tax by using the 'Returning Citizen Scheme' and also undervalued. In a survey of the Tax Investigation Department (FID), the officers discovered that the Mercedes SLS 63 AMG that led Thierry Lagesse does not belong.
This car is registered to Ashish Kumar Seeburrun. The young man, who had obtained a 'excise duty' 85% under the Returning Citizen Scheme, can not rent or sell this car for four years. If he decides to sell the car, the customer must, first, to pay all taxes. MRA up an operation and made videos and pictures of Thierry Lagesse in the Mercedes.
Once the evidence in hand, the MRA convene Ashish Kumar Seeburrun and Thierry Lagesse for an explanation but they do not show up. We learn that the MRA wanted the Rs 7,966,850 that he was the main question to be resolved amicably.
But on the other hand, Ashish Kumar Seeburrun preferred to go to the Supreme Court for the MRA it makes the Mercedes SLS. He reported in his affidavit that the MRA took his car in an arbitrary manner and to cause it harm. It is understood that the Mercedes SLS was at Thierry Lagesse for some time. He said he was the owner of the car. It was then that the MRA decided to refer the case to the Director of Public Prosecutions who will relay, in turn, the file to CCID. The MRA is currently investigating 17 cases of undervaluation. These luxury cars, there would be German, American and Italian.
Some people have already indicated their intention to repay the tax money more quickly. One of them has already paid back and was able to take his car. However, we are taught that if someone is found guilty for 'misuse', it may pay three times the amount due to the MRA.
In January 2013, the law was amended on 'Returning Citizen Scheme'. If a person imports a car 2000 cc or more, it gets the excise duty on a sum of Rs 1.5 million only.
The actual price of the imported Mercedes SLS
Actual Cost: £ 143,500 (Rs 6,850,690)
100% customs duty + 15% VAT + other taxes: Rs 9,215,802
Total Price: Rs 16,066,492
The price of the Mercedes SLS after the undervaluation and SCR
Declared price: £ 70,000 (Rs 3,341,800)
15% customs + 15% VAT + other taxes: Rs 1,114,000
Total: Rs 4,455,800