June 2024 – Judgement of acquittal for the offence of receiving fictitious invoices

June 2024 – Judgement of acquittal for the offence of receiving fictitious invoices

Issuance of Judgement no. 1772/2024 of the Court of first instance of Chalkida – Acquittal for the offence of receiving fictitious invoices for non-existent overall transaction in continuation.

Following a tax audit by the competent tax authority and the issuance of the relevant Report, a complaint was filed before the Public Prosecutor’s Office and subsequently a criminal prosecution was brought against our client, as the alleged recipient of the invoices entered in the accounting books of the company, of which he is the Managing Director. The denial of the accusation and our defensive claims were presented before the hearing, consisting of a) the inadmissibility of the criminal prosecution due to the lack of the issuance (at a time prior to the filing of the complaint) of a final or even corrective tax assessment act (a necessary element according to the Code of Tax Procedure, a. 55A in conjunction with par. 2 of a. 68), in order to determine the exact amount of the tax allegedly evaded by the accused, b) the limitation of the act in application of the principle of the most favourable law, namely, Law no. 4745/2020, according to which the commencement of the limitation period starts from the commission of the unjust act, i.e. the receipt for registration of the invoices, taking into account that no event suspending the limitation period occurred, in the absence of an act of corrective tax assessment, c) the limitation of the right of the Tax Authority to issue an enforceable administrative act (tax assessment) pursuant to Art. 36 of the Tax Code, which constitutes, as stated above, a minimum procedural requirement for the admissibility of criminal proceedings, d) the non-completion of the objective circumstance, due to the non-determination of the amount of tax and e) the real fallacy of our client, which excludes the fraudulent and therefore the unfair nature of the act, since he was not aware of the fictitiousness of the person who issued the invoices.

The denial of the charge consisted in the lack of the specificity of the offence and, in particular, in the fact that the transaction existed in its entirety, and that our client was not aware of the virtuality, nor was his ignorance culpable, since he had taken all the measures that the average trader must take.

From the documents produced and the overall evidentiary procedure, it was proven, that the transaction was real and our client was in real fallacy. In particular, as it emerged from the reading of the documents produced by the defence, the items relating to the invoices in question were indeed received by the competent receiving department, while the Court was convinced that the defendant had no actual management authority over the day-to-day transactions and therefore could not have been aware that another (non-existent transactional) person was behind the company. It was further established that the issuing company was located in a different place from the receiving company and therefore an on-the-spot verification was not possible, and as it was also found from the publicity books in the General Commercial Registry, the company was registered and there was a complete match between the declared VAT number and the VAT number appearing on the invoices.

Thereafter, having succeeded in securing an Exculpatory Prosecution Motion as well, the Court found the accused not guilty and acquitted him of all charges.