On 1st May in the morning, more than 100 Judiciary inspectors searched several accounting and law firms in Oporto. More than two million euros diverted

The Judicial Police (PJ) have detained 11 businessmen in Porto as part of a mega operation aimed at mainly suspects of tax evasion and social security fraud. The operation involved more than a hundred PJ inspectors. The detainees are between 25 and 55 years old and were working in the north of the country.

There are several and serious crimes in this investigation of the Northern Board: criminal association, tax fraud, social security fraud, money laundering and falsification of documents. A first estimate points to more than two million euros that was diverted from public funds with leaks to the IRC and VAT.

In a statement, the PJ said that about 40 home and non-domiciliary searches have been conducted in the municipalities of Paços de Ferreira, Paredes, Porto, Vila Nova de Gaia, Santo Tirso, Guimarães, Maia, Marco de Canaveses and Felgueiras.

According to what has been verified so far by the investigation, which was held between 2016 and 2018 by the Tax Authority – Porto Finance Department, the alleged leader of this criminal association, owner of accounting offices, with the support of third parties, has carried out processes aimed at obtaining undue tax benefits for customers, namely in VAT refunds and in the artificial reduction of the taxable income for the purpose of IRC, thus reaping the benefits to which they knew they were not entitled “.

For this purpose, false data were declared to the Tax Authority, issuing invoices for purchases and services rendered, by computer means, on behalf of taxable persons whose accounts were in their charge.

According to the PJ, these suspects falsified documents, such as employment contracts, income declarations, payroll receipts, inscription or maintenance of workers in companies, tax and social security declarations and others, in order to obtain benefits for third parties attributed by the State and the approval of loans to financial institutions, as well as providing support under the financing programs, namely Portugal 2020.

In the police operation several cars, computer equipment and mobile phones, and extensive accounting and tax documentation was seized.