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DOJ summons Maria Ressa, Rappler treasurer over P133-M tax evasion case

/ 07:12 PM April 17, 2018

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has summoned officials of the online news outfit Rappler to respond to the P133-million tax evasion complaint filed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

Ordered to appear before the DOJ prosecutor was Rappler President Maria Ressa and Treasurer James Bitanga and submit their counter-affidavit.

The preliminary investigation is set for April 24 and May 7 at 11 a.m. at the DOJ office in Manila.

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“You are hereby warned that failure on your part to comply with this subpoena shall be considered as a waiver to present your defense and the case shall be considered submitted for resolution based on the evidence on record,” the DOJ warned in the subpoena signed by Assistant State Prosecutor Zenamar Machacon-Caparros.

Based on the complaint, RHC purchased common shares from Rappler Inc. worth P19, 245,975.00. Then, it issued and sold Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDRs) to two foreign firms worth P181, 658,758.67.

BIR said RHC used the same common shares it purchased from Rappler Inc. as the underlying share of the PDRs for profit and transmitted economic rights to the PDR holders.

The agency explained that RHC is subject to income tax and VAT, being a dealer in securities. However, the annual ITR and VAT returns for 2015, according to the BIR does not reflect any IT and VAT from the PDR transaction.

“As consequence of its acts and omissions, the aggregate tax liability of RHC amounted to P133,841,305.75 broken down as follows: IT-P91,320,481.08 and VAT-P42,520,824.67,” the BIR said.

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TAGS: Bureau of Internal Revenue, Department of Justice, James Bitanga, Maria Ressa, Media, Philippine news updates, Rappler, Tax evasion
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