The Slovenia Times

Slovenia's ex-tax chief named in Paradise Papers


Delo, a partner in the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), reports on Monday that its journalists have uncovered traces of 76 Slovenian individuals and firms leading to Malta and Cyprus.

"Among the 19 secretive jurisdictions or havens whose company registers have been revealed Malta is the one favoured by Slovenians," the paper writes. Malta offers companies in some circumstances a profit tax refund and a VAT deduction for yacht leasing.

These benefits have attracted at least 76 Slovenian subjects to the island, including 70 individuals and six companies. These are linked to at least 70 Maltese forms which Delo says are often just shells designed to facilitate business operations.

Mining the Maltese company register for data obtained and shared by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung in the Paradise Papers project, Delo journalists hit upon offshore dealings of Ivan Simič, who headed Slovenia's Tax Administration in 2006-2008 and Slovenia's Football Association in 2009-2010.

The paper discloses his ownership links to companies in Cyprus. In tax procedures his consultancy represented Zlatan Kudić, the founder of Maxicom who was exposed as a record tax debtor as the Slovenian tax authorities released a blacklist of the biggest debtors.

Simič said in his first statement for the media that his acts were legal, adding that he owned companies in Cyprus and on the Virgin Islands, and that both had been registered at the tax authorities since September 2008.

He also said that he had been employed part-time in Cyprus, and that he regularly reported to the Slovenian tax authorities the wage he received in Cyprus and dividends from the Virgin Islands. He pays an adequate amount of taxes for both.

The documents disclosed by the ICIJ come from the offshore services providers in Bermuda and Singapore Appleby and Asiaciti Trust. While no links to the latter have been found in Slovenia, six Slovenian citizens or residents have been discovered to have ties with Appleby.

In response to the release of the Paradise Papers, the NGO Transparency International Slovenia called for tougher measures against tax avoidance and evasion.

"In the wake of the Panama Papers disclosure there were many promises about reform but little was actually done. We demand of politicians to get down to tackling this acute problem more actively," the organisation's secretary-general Vid Doria stated, pointing to a stall in efforts at the EU level.


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