January 9, 2019 / 5:00 AM / 5 months ago

Costa Rican authorities raid offices of Telefonica units for alleged tax fraud

SAN JOSE, Jan 8 (Reuters) - Costa Rica’s Justice Department on Tuesday raided the offices of two subsidiaries of Spanish telecoms group Telefonica SA, as part of an investigation into alleged tax fraud of at least $2 million.

The Prosecutor’s Office for Financial Crimes said it obtained a court order to raid the offices of Telefonica’s Movistar unit and Movistar subsidiary Tejisa.

Costa Rica’s Public Prosecutor said that the Finance Ministry has accused Telefonica of possible “fraudulent moves” when it created Tejisa. Telefonica is accused of using Tejisa to reduce its tax take.

“According to the investigation, the country lost over 1.25 billion colones ($2 million) in tax on profits in 2017,” the Public Prosecutor said in a statement.

Mexico’s Claro, Costa Rica’s state-owned Electricity Institute (ICE), and Telefonica are the only three cellphone operators in the country. (Reporting by Alvaro Murillo; Writing by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

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