founder of the Russian bank pleads guilty to tax fraud | Takeover bid

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The founder of a Russian bank today pleaded guilty to filing a false income tax return.

“In 2013, when the value of Oleg Tinkov’s investment in his bank’s shares reached over $ 1 billion, Tinkov quickly renounced his US citizenship and then lied to the IRS in a scheme. to escape “exit taxes” he knew were due, “said Acting Assistant Deputy Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s tax division. Today, Tinkov pleaded guilty to a felony and agreed to pay more than $ 500 million in taxes, interest and penalties, more than double the amount he sought to avoid paying to the US Treasury through its fraudulent scheme. ”

“Oleg Tinkov brazenly violated US tax law,” said Acting US Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds for the Northern District of California. “Anyone who enjoys the immense benefits of American citizenship, as Tinkov did, cannot shirk the corresponding obligation to support the country he has chosen. Tax evaders should take note of the long reach of US law enforcement. ”

“Tinkov renounced his US citizenship shortly after receiving millions of dollars,” said Acting Special Agent Darrell J. Waldon of the IRS-CI’s field office in Washington DC. “Despite his knowledge of US tax filing requirements, he significantly underestimated his wealth when filing with the IRS. International tax fraud remains a priority for my office and our agency; and as such, the DC-based International Tax and Financial Crimes Group will continue to aggressively prosecute those who commit international tax crimes. ”

According to the plea deal, Oleg Tinkov, also known as Oleg Tinkoff, was born in Russia and became a naturalized US citizen in 1996. From that date to 2013, he filed US income tax returns. United. In late 2005 or 2006, Tinkov founded Tinkoff Credit Services (TCS), a Russian-based branchless bank that provides customers with online financial and banking services. Through a foreign entity, Tinkov indirectly held the majority of TCS shares.

In October 2013, TCS completed an initial public offering (IPO) on the London Stock Exchange and became a multi-billion dollar listed company. As part of its IPO, Tinkov sold a small portion of its controlling stake for over $ 192 million, and its post-IPO assets had a fair market value of over $ 1.1 billion. . Three days after the successful IPO, Tinkov went to the US Embassy in Moscow, Russia to renounce his US citizenship.

As part of his expatriation, Tinkov was required to file an initial and annual US expatriation declaration. This form requires expats with a net worth of $ 2 million or more to report the implicit sale of their worldwide assets to the IRS as if those assets had been sold the day before the expatriation. The taxpayer is then required to declare and pay tax on the gain from such an implied sale.

Tinkov was made aware of his reporting and tax obligations both by the US Embassy in Moscow and his US-based accountant. When asked by his accountant if his net worth exceeded $ 2 million to complete the expatriation form, Tinkov lied and replied that he had no assets over $ 2 million. When his accountant later asked if his net worth was less than $ 2 million, rather than answering the question, Tinkov himself falsely filled out the expatriation form, stating that his net worth was only $ 300,000. On February 26, 2014, Tinkov filed an individual 2013 false tax return that falsely reported his income at only $ 205,317. In addition, Tinkov did not report any gain from the implicit sale of his property valued at over $ 1.1 billion, nor did he pay applicable taxes as required by law. In total, Tinkov caused a tax loss of $ 248,525,339.

Tinkov was arrested on February 26, 2020 in London, United Kingdom (UK), on these counts. Since then, he has challenged the extradition on medical grounds. Tinkov has provided the UK government and court with expert medical reports supporting his claim he is on a UK-based intensive treatment plan for acute myeloid leukemia and graft-versus-host disease , which made him immunocompromised and unable to travel safely. As part of the plea, Tinkov agreed to make the expert reports available to the court.

Tinkov’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for October 29 before US District Judge Jon S. Tigar. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Tinkov agrees to pay at least $ 506,828,377, which includes the 2013 taxes, the civil fraud penalty and legal interest on that tax, for a total of 448,957,108. $, as well as the tax debts for the other years that Tinkov admitted owing. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the parties agreed to recommend a custodial sentence, followed by one year of supervised release and an additional fine of $ 250,000. This recommendation is binding on the court once it accepts the plea agreement.

The IRS-Criminal Investigations Division investigated the case. The Department of Justice’s international affairs office and law enforcement partners in the UK secured Tinkov’s arrest abroad.

Deputy Chief Tax Officer Yael T. Epstein and Deputy US Attorney Michelle J. Kane of the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California are continuing the case.


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