George Turner ■ Walmart faces allegations of tax evasion in Guatemala

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Here at the Tax Justice Network news has reached us about an interesting case in Guatemala involving Desarrolladora Internacional DCI, a Walmart subsidiary.

According to prosecutors, employees working at the Walmart subsidiary, DCI and at another Walmart company, Operadora de Tiendas, set up a network of fake companies to issue invoices for agricultural products bought on the informal market. Low paid workers were recruited as directors and paid between 1000-1500 Quetzals a month (£100-150) to sign blank cheque books.

The companies are said to have operated the fraud for years, invoicing 21bn Quetzals over the period leading to a VAT fraud worth 1bn Quetzals.

There’s also a suggestion that the people involved in the scheme (including an employee of the Ministry of Finance), managed to enrich themselves personally.

Walmart in Guatemala says it has been co-operating with the authorities in their investigations since the scheme was uncovered.

On 4 December, the Guatemalan revenue authority SAT published a list of firms which had been linked to the sale of invoices. Firms were invited to check their accounts and make any rectification by the end of 2017, and audits of the rest are now underway.

The case relating to Walmart is ongoing – you can read more about it (in Spanish) here and here.

Picture credit: Walmart Guatemala City by Walmart Corporate on Flickr, using the Creative Commons License

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