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Dominican Today: Dominican Customs audits Shell for allegedly altered invoices

6 August 2007
 
SANTO DOMINGO.- The Dominican Customs Agency (DGA) today began an audit of the company Shell, to determine the reach of an alleged alteration of fuel import prices, which diverted hundreds of millions of pesos through the exchange commission and tariffs.

A Customs source, quoted by the newspaper El Nacional, said its lawyers and auditors went to Shell’s offices to begin the probe, and that the measure had been previously notified to the foreign company.

Customs’ Legal Department formally notified Shell of the imminent audit on August 2.

The source said that the auditors seek to establish the reach of the altered fuel import invoices, allegedly with the knowledge of the company, the Government’s equal partner in the Dominican Petroleum Refinery (Refidomsa). The investigation will include imports through several years, even though it didn’t specify the period.

The auditors, prior to going to Shell met with Customs director Miguel Cocco, who last week said Shell’s admission of altered invoices is a violation of the tariffs applied to fuel imports and the exchange commission.

In a statement last Thursday Customs warned it would take “the pertinent measures to protect the tax interest of the State with respect to alterations in the declarations of hydrocarbon shipments, as the engineer Rafael Maradiaga, first vice president of the Directive Council of the Dominican Petroleum Refinery (Refidomsa) declared recently to the national press.”

In its statement the DGA, “recommends that Refidomsa, the Shell Company Ltd. (WI) and the possible buyers of the shares issued against authorized capital of Shell in Refidomsa to make the corresponding reserves to cover the resulting credit with the measures that have been taken.”

The DGA said Maradiaga’s public declarations, “in the sense that alterations have been made in the declarations of the manifests of the hydrocarbon imports, imply a confession on the violation of the Customs legal regime, before which the institution already initiated the actions that the law makes available in defense of the fiscal interest of the State.”

The DGA said it based the start of the audits on Madariaga’s statement.
 
http://www.dominicantoday.com/app/article.aspx?id=24985

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