August 3, 2021

The President of Guatemala deplores the “stupid” hunt by the tax administration for businessmen

The President of Guatemala, Alejandro Giammattei, deplored this Wednesday the “stupid” and “ideological” persecution that in his opinion the businessmen were subjected to by the Superintendency of Tax Administration (SAT) in the last five years and asked “to remove from the judicial orbit “cases.

The president assured in an event of the Guatemalan Chamber of Construction that last week he asked the president of the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ), Patricia Valdés, and the attorney general of the Public Ministry (MP), Consuelo Porras, to end with that “persecution” and giving “payment facilities” to employers who owe taxes.

“There was that stupid persecution against businessmen in the past government at SAT, who put a lot of people in jail, who have a lot of people sued with criminal proceedings that should not have been criminal, but administrative,” Giammattei reproached.

During a breakfast with construction entrepreneurs, he emphasized that he launched a challenge to the CSJ and the MP: “Grab (take) all those cases, let’s get out of the judicial orbit, make the businessman pay the taxes that are in debt, let’s remove the (criminal) processes, and give payment facilities. ”

According to the head of the Executive, the CSJ would keep “25 percent of income from fines” and recalled that “there are more than 2,000 million quetzales ($ 261 million) fighting in court, when it should not be a lawsuit” .

Giammattei ignored that “politician” and “businessman” are not bad words, so he commended businessmen to “recover that ‘demonization’ of an absurd ideological persecution in the past period and the only way they can do it is by complying with their obligations”.

Finally, the president demanded to leave the “unfortunate bureaucracy” – a play on words of a donkey and bureaucracy – that exists in the country for “someone’s whim or interpretation” and reiterated that he dreams of “a deburrocratized Guatemala”, in which to pay taxes “are easier than evading them, because paying taxes is a more complicated headache than evading them.”

The Public Ministry, accompanied by the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (Cicig), which was created by the UN at the request of the Central American country in 2007 and whose term ended in 2019, uncovered major cases of corruption, including one that led to the fall of former President Otto Pérez Molina (2012-2015).

During that period, both entities identified more than 70 criminal structures, collaborated in the judicialization of 120 high-impact cases, presented a hundred lawsuits against great officials, and unionized more than 1,500 people, including businessmen of the highest level.

In 2016, the company Aceros de Guatemala paid the largest fine in history for tax evasion, for $ 100 million, after an investigation by the authorities.


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