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Japanese plastic producer Tenma, which has a local office in the northern province of Bac Ninh, has been investigated for allegedly paying JYP25 million ($215,000) in bribes to some local tax officials to lower its tax liabilities in 2017 and 2019.
Pham The Tung, director of Bac Ninh Police Department, said that the tax scandal has been thoroughly investigated. However, they have found no evidence of bribery.
Meanwhile, local authorities were not able to meet Tenma Vietnam’s CEO since he was not in Vietnam at the moment.
Eleven customs and tax officials in Bac Ninh province have been suspended for 15 days for the duration of the investigation. The Ministry of Finance also formed an investigation team to work on the reports.
According to Japanese newswire Asahi, the bribe had been approved by the Tenma headquarters in Japan, particularly by chairman Kento Fujino.
Notwithstanding, Bac Ninh customs and tax officials have denied the allegations, claiming that Tenma, since it processes for export, is eligible for zero import and value-added tax duties, and so the allegations are baseless, according to Tuoi Tre.
Ngo Xuan Tong, director of Bac Ninh Tax Department, said that the tax evasion was only a report from Japanese media and has not been confirmed by the Vietnamese side. Tenma Vietnam’s chief accountant outright refused the allegations.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc also confirmed that Vietnam has been verifying the allegations of Tenma, with co-operation from the Japanese side.
"If the reports are true, these officials must be punished to create a transparent and fair business environment and to prevent tax losses," Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said in a release on the government’s website.
"The information of Tenma bribing Vietnamese officials came from Japan, so we need international co-ordination to investigate this case," To Lam, Vietnam’s Minister of Public Security, said on the sidelines of a parliament session in Hanoi.
|To Lam, Vietnam’s Minister of Public Security, said Vietnam authorities are investigating the tax bribery case with the Japanese side|
Earlier this month, at the shareholders' meeting in June, Tenma Corporation’s CEO announced resigning amidst the tax scandal. Tenma has not yet disclosed who would take over as the next CEO.
At the moment, Tenma is being closely investigated for bribing foreign officials and violating the competition law in Japan.