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VP Binay’s campaign contributors charged with tax evasion

Rappler.com
The brother and sister-in-law of businessman Antonio Tiu, accused of being a dummy of Vice President Jejomar Binay, fail to pay taxes worth over P39 million

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) filed separate tax evasion cases against the brother and sister-in-law of billionaire Antonio Tiu, the alleged dummy of Vice President Jejomar Binay.

In a press conference, BIR Commissioner Kim Henares named James and Ann Loraine Tiu – said to be among Binay’s biggest campaign contributors – as having failed to pay the correct taxes and accumulating a liability of over P39 million.

Commission on Elections (Comelec) records show that James Tiu contributed P7.5 million to the vice-presidential candidacy of Binay and P2.5 million to his political party, PDP-Laban, in the 2010 national elections. Tiu’s wife Ann Loraine Buencamino contributed identical amounts to Binay and his political party in the same year.

Testifying before the Senate Blue Ribbon Subcommittee in October 2014, lawyer and Binay foe Renato Bondal questioned how the younger Tiu, only 27-years-old in 2010, could afford to donate that much money to the Vice President. Bondal said Tiu was then the director, treasurer and chief finance officer of Greenergy Holdings Inc, which is owned by his older brother, Antonio.

Early on, the older Tiu admitted that his brother, James, had donated only P5 million to Binay’s vice presidential campaign. But Bondal refuted him, saying the Tiu family’s donations amounted to much more.

Previous Rappler reports said that prior to that, James was a Chinese interpreter for PAL and manager of Fresh & Green Corporation. Bondal concluded that James Tiu was fronting for someone who was donating funds to Binay.

In a complaint filed before the Department of Justice, the BIR said James Tiu “willfully attempted to evade or defeat the payment of tax” and “failed to supply correct and accurate information on his income tax return for taxable years 2010 and 2011,” while his wife failed to do so for years 2010 to 2012.

Yet in 2010, Tiu made a downpayment of P5.85 million for a BMW 3351 Cabrio and sold shares of stock worth P259,500 not traded in the local stock market, while incurring costs and other expenses worth P150,000. He paid capital gains tax amounting to only P9,511.

The BIR said he also declared sales amounting to P4.01 million for taxable year 2010 and claimed expenses worth P3.65 million. For his income tax, James Tiu paid P58,750 for 2010.

In 2011, Tiu obtained a loan with Philippine Business Bank (PBB) worth P3.34 million and made an additional investment worth P7.5 million in Greenergy Holdings Incorporated, the BIR said. Also in 2011, he declared sales of P3.15 million, claimed cost of sales amounting to P2.7 million, deducted expenses worth P125,000, and paid a total of P42,500 in income taxes. In addition, he paid P3.12 million as amortization for his PBB loan. 

Wife, too

On the other hand, besides campaign contributions to Binay, Ann Loraine Buencamino Tiu also sold shares of stock not traded in the local stock exchange amounting to P172,000, while incurring cost and other expenses worth P100,000. She paid capital gains tax in the amount of P6,301.63 also in 2010.

The following year, in 2011, Ann Loraine invested P7.7 million in Greenergy Holdings Incorporated and an additional P21.5 million in 2012. She failed to file her income tax returns for 3 years spanning 2010 to 2012.

Investigators found that the Tiu couple “committed substantial underdeclaration of income” as they were able to afford expenses and investments “without any identifiable source of income,” the BIR said. Their combined income  turned out to be inadequate vis-à-vis their expenses.

The BIR enumerated tax liabilities of the Tiu couple as follows:

James Tiu – P14.96 million

  • 2010 – P10.55 million
  • 2011 – P4.41 million

Ann Loraine Tiu – P24.07 million

  • 2010 – P6.84 million
  • 2011 – P4.76 million
  • 2012 – P12.47 million

The Senate Blue Ribbon Subcommittee has been probing into alleged irregularities in Makati City when Binay was mayor. – Rappler.com

 

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