MOSCOW, April 23 (Itar-Tass) – Former Vice-President of the Russian Olympic Committee Akhmed Bilalov is being checked for involvement in tax evasion in a tourist company, which arranges hajj trips.
“Akhmed Bilalov is being checked for involvement in masterminding an illegal scheme of massive tax evasion in a tourist company, which arranges pilgrim trips of Russian Muslims in Mecca,” the press centre of the Russian Interior Ministry stated, recalling that Bilalov previously worked as an envoy of the Council for Hajj, a member of the committee of religious associations at the Russian government and “could be involved in the masterminding of the tax evasion scheme.” “The detectives of the main department for economic security and counteraction to corruption of the Russian Interior Ministry are investigating this version,” the press centre of the Interior Ministry reported.
The Russian Investigative Committee reported that the top management of the tourist company Hajm-tour, which arranges pilgrim trips in Saudi Arabia, are suspected of tax dodging. The results of the inquiry, which the Federal Security Service, the Interior Ministry and the Federal Taxation Service conducted, gave the grounds to open a criminal case against general director of the tourist company, Russian citizen and national of Jordan, Ammar Hijjavi.
“According to the version of the detectives, from 2008 to 2010 the company Hajm-tour has arranged the paid hajj trips to Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, the management of the organization did not report about its factual earnings fully in its tax declarations,” the Investigative Committee said.
To conceal their real earnings and receive the additional profit, the general director and his accomplices illegally converted the monetary funds received from the pilgrims in the U.S. dollars at the current exchange rate, getting from three to seven percent from these illegal transactions. “Thus, general director of Hajm-tour Hijjavi evaded the taxes and the duty fees to the tune of 36 million dollars. Meanwhile, he reregistered twice Hajm-tour for the straw men, who are leading the asocial life,” the Investigative Committee reported.
The detectives charged Ammar Hijjavi with “massive tax evasion.” He was put on recognizance not to leave the city.
Meanwhile, during the investigation of this criminal case the searches were made at the residence place of first deputy chairman of the Spiritual Authority of Muslims in the European part of Russia Damir Gizatullin.