By Nancy Carvajal
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is training its sights on companies which evaded taxes by using fake receipts manufactured by Brenterprise International Inc., a firm allegedly owned by esports executive and World Balance scion Bernard “Bren” Chong.
NBI Anti-Organized and Transnational Crime Division chief Jerome Bomediano said an investigation into Brenterprise’s clients has started after criminal charges were filed against company executives earlier this month.
“We’re now investigating the companies that availed of Brenterprise’s services. We now know that the company created dummy corporations and provided fake receipts using names of ‘ghost’ suppliers so clients can pay lower income taxes by jacking up their expenses,” Bomediano said.
Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla had described Brenterprise’s alleged scheme as a “fake receipts scam,” which resulted in the government’s failure to collect P50 billion in taxes.
Bomediano said the list of Brenterprise’s corporate clients was found in computers seized from the company’s office in Eastwood, Quezon City during a raid last year.
“We will give these businesses a chance to explain why they’re part of Brenterprise’s records,” he said, adding that he cannot disclose any names of the suspected clients at this time.
“We cannot divulge any information yet about the businesses involved in this scam. There are, however, big and popular companies who appear to have tapped Brenterprise’s services based on the firm’s records,” Bomediano said.
The NBI recently filed a criminal complaint against Chong and 30 others in connection with Brenterprise’s alleged scam. The charges filed against them include: falsification of commercial documents, fraudulent conduct of business, acting as intermediaries for graft and corrupt practices, and printing of fraudulent receipts or commercial invoices.
Initial investigation by the NBI showed that Brenterprise allegedly used nearly 200 dummy corporations to pad the expenses of clients using fake receipts.
The Chong-owned firm allegedly charged a 0.8-percent commission or “regular fee” on the total amount “fictionally purchased” for the client, according to the NBI’s complaint.
Brenterprise also allegedly pays a “referral fee” of 1.5 percent of the total amount of a client’s transaction to the agent in charge of the account.
Chong was recently cleared by the Court of Appeals in a drug smuggling case.
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