Former EU Commissioner and wife convicted of tax evasion

The former European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht (Flemish liberal) and his wife, the Police Court Judge Mireille Schreurs have been convicted of tax evasion. The Fiscal Chamber of Ghent (East Flanders) court made its ruling on Friday morning. However, the extra taxation payment imposed by the court as a punishment for the couple’s tax evasion was lower than what the Inland Revenue had demanded.   

The case centres around and Italian agricultural firm that is owned by the De Gucht’s. The couple has set off the company’s losses (almost 41,000 euro) against their Belgian tax. However, the Tax Office said that this was not allowed.

The Inland Revenue requested that the amount due in tax from the De Gucht’s should be increased by 50% as a penalty for them having tried to evade tax.

However, the court said that this was too severe and imposed a 10% penalty charge for the filing of an incorrect or late tax return. In a previous case brought against them Mr and Mrs De Gucht were acquitted due to a procedural error during the investigation. Then the case centre around a share transaction in which the couple made 1.2 million euro.