Business

GMA's Gozon, Inquirer.net's Prieto faces P23-M tax evasion rap

GMA's Gozon, Inquirer.net's Prieto faces P23-M tax evasion rap

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Internal Revenue slapped GMA Network Inc. Chairman and CEO Felipe Gozon and Inquirer.net president Paolo Prieto with a multi-million tax evasion complaint over the now-defunct INQ7.

The BIR on Thursday said it filed a tax evasion complaint against Gozon and Prieto over the supposed failure to file return, supply correct and accurate information, pay tax withhold and remit tax and refund excess taxes withheld on compensation of INQ7, GMA and Inquirer.net’s joint venture.

Gozon and Prieto are accused of violating Section 255 in relation to sections 253 (d) and 256 of Tax Code.

“Together with its responsible corporate officer, [INQ7] is being sued for a total of deficiency tax liability for taxable year 2006 amounting to P23,479,467.13, inclusive of increments,” the press release from the BIR read.

INQ7 was a portal where content from Philippine Daily Inquirer and limited free viewing GMA’s current affairs programs were uploaded, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal in 2001.

It closed down in 2006 as the partnership between the two media giants ended.

Others facing tax evasion raps are:

  • Ski Construction Group Inc.
  • Prestige Cars Makati Inc.
  • Lucky Charm Pub & Restaurant Corp.
  • Underground Logic Inc.
  • JP Med Asian Pacific Inc.
  • Information Products Corp.
  • Tridem Asia Publishing Inc.
  • Integrated Dynamc Service Inc.
  • Calcarries International Inc.
  • Eurobrokers International Inc.

Duterte and the Prietos

The Inquirer has been at the receiving end of President Rodrigo Duterte's tirades for allegedly publishing "biased" reports and "fake news" against the administration.

 Rody accuses newspaper owners of tax evasion 

In April 2017, Duterte accused the Prietos of not properly paying taxes. The chief executive told reporters: "Inquirer owns Dunkin' Donuts. Did you know that? It had tax dues that were settled during the time of (former Internal Revenue Commissioner) Kim Henares. They did not pay anything or only paid tax less."

The BIR, in February 2018, filed P1.12 billion tax evasion complaint against Dunkin’ Donut’s Philippine franchisee, Golden Donuts.

The Prieto clan owns the said franchise.

Earlier, Prieto-owned Sunvar Realty Development Corp. was ordered to vacate the Mile Long property.