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Romanian tax authorities probe celebrities, moneylenders

Published:Friday | August 7, 2015 | 8:00 AM

BUCHAREST (AP):

Romania's tax authorities say they will investigate the country's big earners, including celebrities, moneylenders and pop stars, to verify the sources of their incomes.

The head of Romania's tax authority, Stefan Diaconu, disclosed yesterday that authorities were intensifying the fight against tax evasion, having identified 7,800 people to investigate, and were actively pursuing more than 300 cases.

"Whether they are public figures, turbo folk stars or moneylenders ... they will also have to prove the origins of their incomes," said Diaconu in a statement. Turbo folk is a Balkan genre of music that mixes folk, oriental and electronic influences.

Big purchases

The authority said the probe, coordinated from eight cities, would focus on people who had bought property or a single item worth more than €70,000 (US$77,000) and cars more than €25,000 (US$27,500). The statement said that 132,000 people had been identified who had discrepancies of more than 10 per cent between estimated and declared income. There are 14.3 million tax payers in Romania, a country of 19 million.

According to global management consulting company A.T. Kearney, Romania's underground economy was worth an estimated $45 billion in 2013.