The Federal Court of Caleta Olivia is investigating an import over-invoicing maneuver for the installation of a wind farm in the north of the Province of Santa Cruz. According to the data gathered by Customs, there is a difference of USD 14 million between the transaction value reported by the selling company and the value declared by the importing company.
The complaint was filed after Customs detected irregularities in the importation of 27 complete wind generators from Germany.
According to Customs sources, the agency requested information from its European counterpart and from the documentation submitted by the office of crimes of the customs service of that country, a substantial difference was found between the declared values: while the documentation submitted in Argentina stated that the amount of the import was USD 46 million, the information provided by Germany showed that it had been made for 27 million Euros (equivalent to USD 32 million). In other words, an over-invoicing difference of USD 14 million was detected.
In addition, the German customs crime office reported that, remarkably, after these operations the company was dissolved in that country.
As a result, Customs denounced the Argentine company for aggravated smuggling and for the use of adulterated or apocryphal documents in the Federal Court of Caleta Olivia. In addition, as plaintiff, it reiterated the request for the indictment of the directors of the local company and requested the preventive seizure of the generators for the wind farm to ensure the tax credit.
Finally, the requested measures were brought to the attention of the Secretariat of Energy of the Nation so that, within the framework of its competences, it may take administrative action with respect to the company.
Although Customs declined to inform the names of the company involved in the investigation, Infobae was able to learn from sources in the energy sector that it is "Vientos de Hércules", an Argentine company owned by Total Eren (France) and Mitsu (Japan). The French company has more than 100 power plants in operation or under construction in 22 countries, including the Santa Cruz wind farm. The company reported revenues of 600 million euros in 2022, resulting from 6,500 HWh generated worldwide.
Customs has been closely observing wind equipment imports for a long time, due to a common methodology of triangulation of operations. According to agency sources, from the analysis of wind farm imports from 2017 to date, it emerges that out of USD 1,856 million of wind farm imports, USD 1,120 million were operations re-invoiced from a third country, equivalent to 60 percent.
The main countries from which imports were re-invoiced were Denmark, Hong Kong, Germany and Uruguay (96%), although there are also some cases involving Spain and China, among other countries.
Meanwhile, according to Customs, the main country of origin of wind power equipment imported by Argentina is China. The Asian country sold technology for that sector for an amount of USD 887.5 million from 2017 until, which represents a 47.8% share of total imports of instruments for wind power generation. They are followed in importance by Spain, with USD 434.3 million, Germany (USD 286 million) and Denmark (USD 153.2 million).
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