For the third time in a year, a public–private partnership of the government has come into the hands of unknown owner through a tax evasion construction know as a “Dutch postbox company.”
The construction involves international companies registering their main offices in the Netherlands because of the low corporate tax rate, without developing any activity in the country itself. Because of Dutch privacy regulations, it is impossible to find out the final beneficiary of these companies. Albanian partners in public–private partnerships, also known as concessions, increasingly use this construction to hide the real owners of the company that holds the concession, which could mask both tax evasion in Albania, conflict of interest, and corruption.
Dutch artist and activist Tinkebell recently produced a short documentary on postbox companies, which have to prove their “activity” in the Netherlands by maintaining a house plant on their premises.
Reporter has published an investigation revealing that the hemodialysis concession, with a value of 8.6 billion lekë (~€64 million) for a total period of 10 years, has again changed hands. In September 2016, 85% of the shares in concession holder Dia Vita shpk was sold by Evita shpk to Rasim Hamzaraj (72.5%) and Ertel Kërçeku (17.5%) for 30.1 million lekë (~€224,000), or 0.35% of the total value of the concession.
In turn, Hamzaraj has recently sold his shares to Dutch postbox company Arimo BV for 21 million lekë (~€156,000). This company now owns 72.5% of the 85% share in concession holder Dia Vita, in other words, the majority of the shares.
Arimo has its offices on Paasheuvelweg 16 in Amsterdam, in the building of Crowe Horwath Foederer, an accountancy firm that offers “specialist tax services that can manage your tax risks and exposure.”
Last month, it was announced that the concession of hospital laboratories was won by a consortium of three companies, including another Dutch postbox company, AB Laboratory Solutions BV, which owns 33.3% of the shares in the consortium.
Incinerator in Tirana
In December, the Rama government decided to approve the construction of an incinerator for urban waste in the neighborhood of Tirana. The decision was made after a Dutch postbox company called Integrated Energy BV presented an unrequested proposition at the Ministry of Energy and Industry for a thirty-year concession worth €140 million. The Council of Ministers decided to give Integrated Energy a bonus of 8% in the future public procurement procedure.
Two of the board members of Integrated Energy work for SGG Group, a company specialized in financial holdings and convicted under the UK Bribery Act for fraud.