Prosecutors in Plovdiv have started a process of questioning about 2000 taxi drivers in Bulgaria’s second city in connection with alleged tax evasion and other irregularities that it is claimed have deprived the state of about five million leva (about 2.5 million euro) in revenue.
The investigation began after a tip-off from a motor vehicle administration official, reports said.
The Plovdiv District Prosecutor’s Office is investigating four companies, two of which are said to be headquartered in the building of the motor vehicle administration.
“Employees of the motor vehicle administration claimed in the report that they do not know where the owners or managers are. In fact, it is paradoxical that two of the companies are right in the motor vehicle administration,” Plovdiv Regional Prosecutor Rumen Popov told journalists on March 28.
An official statement by the Prosecutor’s Office said that the taxi drivers themselves were not the subject of the investigation. “They will be questioned only as witnesses, and the conduct of investigative actions does not in any way require the cessation of their activities,” the statement said.
The statement said that numerous investigative actions had been carried out so far, including search-and-seizure, interviews with witnesses and gathering of written evidence. About 100 taxi drivers have been questioned.
Reports from Plovdiv said that the four firms under investigation own 1000 out of 1500 taxis in the city.
Six people had been taken into custody. Reportedly, some of the purported owners of the firms “do not know that they own a company,” Plovdiv news website podtepeto said.
Pre-trial proceedings against the companies for large-scale tax evasion have been initiated.