MINSK, 16 October (BelTA) – More than $1.5 billion is estimated to end up in the pockets of mala fide intermediaries every year, Chairman of the State Control Committee Leonid Anfimov told reporters on 16 October, BelTA has learned.
“If we calculate the scale of unjustified intermediacy in Belarus, the figures will be shocking: at present some 3% of GDP ends up in the pockets of these moneymakers. This is some $1.5 billion or even more. The country needs this money. If this money were used for a good cause, the domestic economy would become more efficient,” Leonid Anfimov said.
He blamed many cases of unjustified intermediacy on the lack of control on the part of ministries and local authorities. Leonid Anfimov believes that it is their duty to oversee the companies affiliated with them and to make sure they run their businesses efficiently. “The concern of the law enforcement agencies and watchdogs should be shared by those who should be in the front end of overseeing these economic activities,” Leonid Anfimov is convinced.
He noted that middlemen should not be banned altogether, because sometimes it makes more sense to work with middlemen rather than with manufacturers directly. “We are not going to shield economic operators from middlemen,” the chairman of the State Control Committee said.
Deputy Chairman of the State Control Committee, Director of the Financial Investigations Department Igor Marshalov noted that unjustified intermediacy has penetrated virtually all sectors. “Such schemes used to be implemented with the help of shell companies. However, after such companies were ousted from the business setting, we faced another problem – businesses whose corporate domicile is located outside Belarus,” he said.
In April law enforcement quashed a major intermediary that had been supplying medical equipment and expandable materials for millions of dollars annually. The company was on the market for more than ten years. It supplied products of a famous brand and the cost of these products was inflated 3-4 times. “This individual lived in Austria, had a house in the French Riviera, changed three yachts worth €800,000 and gave bribes to various officials within the healthcare system,” Igor Marshalov said.
In June the Financial Investigations Department uncovered a scheme exploited by one company chief who used banking information of an Estonian company to supply various additives to Belarusian meat processing plants with a markup of up to 300%.
Belarus Deputy Prosecutor General Aleksei Stuk noted that unjustified intermediacy often goes hand in hand with corruption. “This intermediacy accumulates criminal money that becomes a breeding ground for various kinds of crimes, in particular, malfeasance. This is the legal aspect of intermediacy that should be combated by the law enforcement system,” he said.More about Economy