SINGAPORE - A man has been fined more than $1.3 million for evading taxes on 195 motor vehicles imported to Singapore from Japan.
Singapore Customs said on Monday (March 2) that Singaporean Sunil Kishinchand Bhojwani, 59, was fined $1,347,146.10 by the State Courts last Friday for engaging in a conspiracy to evade excise duty and goods and service tax (GST) between February and September 2015.
Sunil was the manager of T Kishen, which imported the motor vehicles.
The company is owned by his parents.
He pleaded guilty to one charge, with three other charges taken into consideration.
Of these three, two include giving false information to Singapore Customs.
Singapore Customs said its officers found discrepancies in the declaration of facts (DOF) submitted by two motor vehicle traders making duty or GST payment on motor vehicles.
Its officers also discovered that the commercial invoices, which were submitted with the DOF, were similar to those issued by an overseas supplier to T Kishen.
Investigations revealed that Sunil purchased the 195 vehicles and negotiated with the overseas supplier to suppress the values on the invoices in order to evade paying the full duty and GST on the vehicles.
He also paid three motor vehicle traders to submit the DOF and apply for the duty payment permits, as he did not want the legal responsibilities if Customs discovered that the values were suppressed.
Each trader was aware of this, and paid between $800 and $1,000 for each vehicle imported.
One of these traders has been convicted and was sentenced on Sept 21, 2017, while investigations into the other two are still being carried out.
The total duty evaded was about $224,520, while the total GST evaded was $91,610.
Sunil also faced two charges for giving false statement on two occasions in March 2018 and September 2018 when he claimed he was overseas and could not attend investigations, even though he was in Singapore at the time.
If he did not pay his $1.3 million fine, he would face over three years in jail, or 158 weeks.
He paid $134,714.60 on Feb 28 and the Court has granted his application to pay the remaining sum equally over a period of four years. Should he fail to do so, he may be ordered to serve a jail term that will be decided by the Court.
Singapore Customs reminded the public that anyone who is linked to fraudulent evasion of any customs duty or excise duty is guilty of an offence and can be fined up to 20 times the amount of duty and GST evaded.
It added that refusing to answer questions, knowingly giving false information, or providing false documents are serious offences under the Customs Act.
Those found guilty can be fined up to $5,000, jailed up to a year, or both.
Members of the public with information on smuggling activities or evasion of Customs duty or GST can call the Singapore Customs hotline on 1800-233-0000, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or use the Customs @ SG app to report these activities.