Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Don't forget to pay your tax
While sunning myself on the Mediterranean I came across an article in Sabah by my old colleague Metehan Demir. Now Metehan is a top bloke who was always the first to get exclusives on stuff like Turkish army tank tenders, what type of plane the airforce really wants and how much fun it is to bomb stuff (I think).
This week though writing in Sabah newspaper on Monday, Metehan turned his attention to football and money, in particular, Genclerbirligi and the Treasury.
Metehan goes into great detail about what appears to be a huge scandal and which has had the Gencler directors jumping up and down declaring their total innocence.
The essence of the story is that the Tax Office decided to audit Gencler, Ankaragucu and Ankaraspor and, to their surprise, found that not all taxes had been properly paid. I'll leave the stories of Ankaragucu and Ankaraspor to one side as the details aren't that clear, but Gencler were given a fine of 3.4 milion TL (that's 3.4 billion TL in the old speak, or in euro terms about 1.75 million euros). Not petty change.
Genclerbirligi then asked that the fine (I think this includes the unpaid tax plus whatever fine they imposed) be discussed at an abitration commission, as is usual practice in Turkey when companies are found not to have paid their taxes in full.
According to an article in Hurriyet by Cigdem Toker on Tuesday, the fine was subsequently reduced to 1 million TL (about 500,000 euros) by a Tax Office arbitration committee chaired by a fellow called Cemal Boyali, a fellow who Cigdem, for some reason or other which I certainly would not wan't to draw any conclusions into, describes as a man who had a promotion blocked by the president himself.
Back to Metehan who writes that at around this time, someone, (Metehan does not give any names) asked the chairmen of Gencler, Ankaragucu and Ankaraspor for a donation of 50,000 TL each for the Tax Office's own team Maliyespor (whose chairman also happens to be our friend Cemal Boyali). By the way, this is all occuring in the last couple of months.
Cavcav apparently complained that this was a lot of money but in the end he agreed.
Then comes the stuff which seems to have gotten the Gencler directors all upset. Metehan writes that Gencler sent off the 50,000 TL to Maliyespor and received a receipt from some company for the following: 3,000 Maliyespor flags, 3,000 t-shirts and 3,000 hats.
Metehan asks if we will all be flying Maliyespor flags at the next match.
More importantly, Metehan asks whether Gencler actually received these goods. If yes, well, what the hell are we going to do with them. If no, this is a clear breach of Tax Law 359 and if successfully prosecuted could result in up to three years imprisonment for whoever signed it off.
Back to Tuesday's follow-up piece by Cigdem who has managed to get the Gencler directors to give their side of the story. In her piece Cigdem quotes Gencler's finance man Sukru Kizilot (who also happens to write on the Economy pages of Hurriyet) who says that when the reciept came in for all the flags etc he asked whether the club had actually received them. When the answer was naturally "no" he apparently refused to accept the receipt and instead asked that the club be given a receipt for the "charity donation" of 50,000 TL to Maliyespor.
So, that's okay then.
Cigdem also managed to track down Gencler chairman Ilhan Cavcav who complained that the big three Istabul teams usually get their tax fines reduced by arbitration commissions to around 10 percent of the original rather than the 20 percent that was all that Gencler managed.
Cavcav also says he was "very sad" that the whole giving donations to Maliyespor business has been linked to Gencler's own tax office problems. Cavcav instead says that because Gencler has no supporters (never seen this blog obviously) this was all a way of getting more people to support the team.
So obviously, when we go along to the football on Saturday afternoon, don't mention your own dodgy tax situation as the crowd will no doubt be full of Tax Office officials all waving Maliyespor flags.
PHOTO CAPTION: Oz Kanka and Little Oz Kanka researching the above story.
By Oz Kanka - September 27, 2006