Binay's biggest campaign donors charged with tax evasion

by Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 04 2014 11:50 AM | Updated as of Dec 05 2014 06:57 AM

MANILA (UPDATED) - Two separate tax evasion complaints were filed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) against Vice-President Jejomar Binay's biggest campaign donors in the 2010 elections, spouses James and Ann Loraine Tiu, before the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday.

James is the brother of businessman Antonio Tiu, one of the alleged dummies of Binay as claimed by former Makati City Vice-Mayor Ernesto Mercado and Atty. Renato Bondal. Mercado and Bondal have accused Binay and his family of widespread corruption in Makati.

In a statement released by Antonio Tiu on Thursday evening, James Tiu's lawyers said they have not yet received a copy of the complaint and thus would not be able to comment at this time.

But, they added: "We believe that James did not violate any laws and any independent and objective investigation will exonerate him."

In October, Bondal revealed before the Senate Blue Ribbon Sub-Committee that the Tiu couple was Binay's biggest campaign donors in 2010.

The Tiu couple was charged for an aggregate tax liability of P39.03 million, inclusive of surcharges and interests.

BIR Commissioner Kim Henares said James Tiu made a total contribution of P7.5 million to Binay's VP bid, and P2.5 million to Binay's political party, PDP Laban, based on records obtained from the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Tiu also allegedly made a P5.85 million down payment for a BMW 3351 Cabrio in the same year, and sold shares of stocks not traded in the local exchange in the amount of P259,500.

Tiu's expenses for the said year, however, amounted to P150,000, with a corresponding capital gains tax of P9,511.

In 2011, Tiu secured a P3.34 million loan with the Philippine Business Bank (PBB), and made additional investments worth P7.5 million in Greenergy Holdings, Inc.

In his 2011 income tax return (ITR), he declared sales amounting to P3.15 million, cost of sales at P2.7 million, deducted expenses of P125,000, paid P3.12 million as amortization for his PBB loan, and paid a total of P42,500 in income tax.

Ann Loraine also contributed P7.5 million to the Binay campaign in 2010, and also P2.5 million to PDP Laban, as bared by Comelec records.

Also in 2010, she sold shares of stocks not traded in the local stock exchange worth P172,000. Her costs and expenses amounted to P100,000 for the said year, while her capital gains tax payments totalled P6,301.63.

Ann Loraine paid Greenergy Holdings, Inc. P7.5 million in 2011 as additional investment, and P21.5 million in 2012. She failed to file her ITRs for 2010, 2011, and 2012.

Henares said the expenditure method of investigation the BIR used revealed that the couple committed "substantial underdeclaration of income" for having been able to incur the above-stated expenses "without any identifiable source of income."

The cases against James and Ann Loraine Tiu are the 323rd and 324th filed by the BIR under its Run After Tax Evaders (RATE) program under the Aquino administration.


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