Messina, new trouble for Caronte & Tourist: seizure of a million for tax avoidance to the company that manages the ships on the Strait

It self-applied atax relief to which he had no right: with this accusation the investigating judge of Messina ordered the seizure from one million euros believed to be the result of circumvention of the private shipping company Caronte & Tourist. The trick, according to the Prosecutor’s Office, was to rent a ship for a fee 20% tax on revenuesexploiting a rule that could not be applied in their case: after the recent Antitrust sanction for 3.7 million euros, another hard blow for the shipping company that manages the crossing of the Strait (but not only). According to the findings of the Guardia di Finanza, the 80 per cent facility self-applied by Caronte is excluded when the rental is bareboat, or rather when the boat is sold only, without providing the crew and without managing its maintenance. A discount, therefore, to which the company was not entitled. The Messina financiers have detected the avoidance of approx 350 thousand euros a year for three years: 2016, 2017 and 2018. For this reason the Prosecutor led by Maurizio De Lucia requested and obtained the seizure, aimed at confiscation, of 1,047,597 euros.

A sum that is added to the 3.7 million imposed by the Antitrust to compensate for the exacerbation of tariffs. Last April, in fact, the Charon had been sanctioned for by theGuarantor authority for competition and the market at the end of an investigation opened in 2018 after the complaint of a consumer, who had ascertained that the company was practicing prices too high in the regime of de facto monopoly: 36.50 euros for a round trip on the same day the rate for crossing by car from the Calabrian to the Sicilian side (a 3% discount is in effect from December). Lately Liberty Lines and Caronte & Tourist, consortium members in the Sicilian shipping companythey had even predicted an increase in the tariffs of the connections in May hydrofoil for the smaller islands: + 35% increases for residents and + 50% for tourists, due – according to the leaders of the two companies – to fuel prices, despite the funding from 55 million a year that the company receives from the Ministry of Transport. The expected increase was then averted by the intervention of the regional councilor for transport, Marco Falconeafter the protest of the mayors of the Aeolian, Egadi and Ustica islands.

In 2019, the British fund Basalt joined the company, with a 30% stake. Another 30% is held by Ulisse Italia Srl, a company founded in 2018, chaired by the Englishman John William Hanna Holt and wholly owned by Ulisse Lux 2 Sarl, a company based in Luxembourg, a well-known tax haven. The other shares are divided among the family Matacena and the family Franzain whose share attributable to the former deputy Francantonio Genovesedefinitively condemned for the scandal on vocational training.

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