Finance Ministry’s investigative service is probing Georgia’s one of the largest mobile operators, Geocell, over alleged tax evasion, Finance Minister Nodar Khaduri said on February 14.
He declined to provide details, citing that the investigation was still ongoing.
Geocell is part of the Swedish-Finnish telecom operator TeliaSonera.
Investigators from the Finance Ministry’s unit in charge of tacking financial and economic crimes launched “investigative measures” in Geocell headquarters in Tbilisi on February 13.
A spokesman of the Investigative Service, also known informally as financial police, said that the investigation is ongoing under the article 218 of criminal code, dealing with tax evasion. “More detailed information will be released later,” he said.
In a written statement on February 14, Pasi Koistinen, CEO of Geocell, said that the company operates transparently and is one of the largest taxpayers in the country, which has no reason whatsoever to evade taxes. He said that regrettably the company is not yet aware of factual circumstances that caused launch of the investigation.
According to TeliaSonera’s 2013 year-end report net sales in local currency decreased 4.1% in Georgia, mainly due to lost government tender in the first half of 2013.