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Saturday, May 25 2019 @ 10:51 AM UTC

Police raid Cisco in $800m tax probe

Crime & Punishment Times Online - Brazillian police and tax authorities have raided US computer giant Cisco Systems, following a two-year investigation into alleged tax avoidance on products shipped from offshore havens. The authorities have seized a commercial jet, $10 million of merchandise, 18 vehicles and the equivalent of nearly $400,000 in Brazilian and US currency. About 650 agents executed 93 search warrants and have arrested 40 people allegedly involved in a ring to avoid import, sales and corporate taxes, which could have generated $833 million in tax revenue for the Brazilian Government, police said. A former top Cisco executive for Brazil is among those under investigation, according to the Federal Judge involved, although no details have been made public. (more)

Police and tax agents raided Cisco's offices in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro and searched the homes of Brazilians thought to have been involved, according to news agency reports.

No charges have yet been made, but Federal Judge Alexandre Cassetari said those involved used bogus documents.

She said they quoted unreasonably low prices on electronic and other products to avoid paying duties on goods being imported.

The investigation is also focusing on whether federal tax officials were involved. Charges could include gang formation, falsification of documents and corruption, Judge Cassetari said.

The scheme, allegedly set up by Brazilian and US companies, prompted a two-year police investigation that focused on at least $500 million in products shipped to Brazilian clients from tax havens such as Panama, the Bahamas and the British Virgin islands, according to the police.

Felipe Lamus, a spokesman for Cisco, said it was “co-operating fully with the investigation”. He declined to comment on the raids or on any arrests made.

“We are currently in the process of establishing what exactly has happened and cannot comment further until we have more information,” Lamus said in an e-mail to news agencies.

Cisco started doing business in Brazil in 1994 and has offices in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and the capital, Brasilia.

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