Colombia’s Comptroller General’s Office on Thursday alleged that the controversial, now-liquidated, brokerage firm, InterBolsa, commited “substantial tax evasion.”
The Comptroller General’s Office, the country’s top financial watchdog, in a letter addressed to the Director of DIAN — the National Taxes and Customs Directorate — and to Colombia’s Financial Superintendent, warned that InterBolsa allegedly offered customers “financial optimization services” which apparently was just code for tax evasion. According to a press release from the Comptroller General’s Office, these “services” generated “substantial tax evasion,” though the letter did not explicitly say exactly how much.
“We have detected shortcomings in controlling the tax on bank transactions by InterBolsa,” said Deputy Comprtoller Felipe Cordova.
InterBolsa, taking advantage of a supposedly well-known tax loophole, would transfer clients’ portfolios to different “third party” accounts for a duration of one to four days, therefore bypassing the tax imposed on all financial transactions.
“The benefit…was that [InterBolsa] would charge the customer [a] commission,” reportedly half of what the normal transaction fee would be, thus saving customers 50% and giving InterBolsa 100% of something they never should have gotten.
The Comptroller said this tax regulatory loophole existed in a “grey area” and lamented the lack of financial oversight.
InterBolsa president Rodrigo Jaramillo, who has been at the center of the financial scandal and the subsequent criminal accusations, went before Colombia’s Prosecutor General to answer questions about the collapse of his company.
“Today, we did the interview [and] I want to clarify that this…is an informal investigation,” said InterBolsa lawyer, Jaime Lombana.
In this preliminary stage, the prosecution seeks to establish whether punishable offenses such as misrepresentation, fraud, conspiracy, breach of public trust, and of course, tax evasion, were committed.
Local media reported that five others will be similarly questioned by the Prosecutor General.