The smart businessman from Salzburg is said to have not properly taxed the slot machine profits for a period of about five years. The public prosecutor in Austria accuses the man of evading income and sales tax of 865,000 euros. The man’s defense attorney admits errors in the bookkeeping, but finds it incomprehensible to accuse him of tax evasion.
The defendant faces up to ten years in prison
Until recently, the 45-year-old man from Salzburg was the operator of a total of four restaurants. The man also set up several slot machines in his bars, with which he probably earned quite a lot. In any case, the public prosecutor’s office accuses him of not properly declaring the profits and thereby smuggling almost € 900,000 untaxed past the Austrian tax authorities.
As part of the investigation, the public prosecutor’s office seized the gaming devices concerned and had them evaluated. The result: The gaming machines were probably not manipulated, but the defendant simply told the tax authorities the untruth about the amount of his income.
To be more precise, the defendant submitted false annual tax returns and thereby caused tax losses of 865,000 euros. The Austrian financial police caught up on him and found out that his slot machines were generating much higher sales than he had reported to the tax office. As a result, extensive investigations were started that are still ongoing today.
Defense attorney demands acquittal
The defendant’s attorney admitted to the newspaper “Salzburger Nachrichten” that the bookkeeping had actually not been flawless. The lawyer cannot understand that his client is now accused of tax evasion due to the errors.
Instead, the defense is now launching a counterattack and accusing the tax office of making contradicting arguments. In addition, the sales estimates determined were far too high. The court probably still needs information and has postponed the hearing for the time being. The reason: Additional documents are required in order to be able to assess the extent to which the accused could actually have been guilty of tax evasion. For the defense attorney, however, the verdict is already certain:
“The accused is innocent, he will be acquitted”.
The prosecution assesses the incidents a little differently. She points out that the slot machines confiscated by the financial police “were found to differ significantly from the declared proceeds”. In addition, the monthly daily solutions are said to have been partially copied and subsequently changed. In a first step, the authorities imposed an administrative fine on the man in the amount of 200,000 euros. As expected, the former restaurateur was not satisfied with this.
Illegal machines are a problem in Austria
In the recent past there have repeatedly been problems in several countries in Austria with illegally installed or technically manipulated slot machines. As recently as September last year, the tax authorities and the police searched almost 30 locations in this connection. In Austria, gambling is a matter for the federal states, which means that in some places, such as in Carinthia or Upper Austria, slot machines can also be played outside of casinos. In other countries like Vienna or Salzburg this is forbidden.
If the 45-year-old ex-restaurateur is actually found guilty of tax evasion, he faces a prison sentence of up to ten years due to the amount of tax evaded. In addition, he could be sentenced to repay multiples of his tax debts as a penalty. But given the fact that the man is now unemployed, that should be difficult anyway. It is questionable, however, whether the evidence will be sufficient to convict the man. The accused sees himself in the right and asserts his innocence to the presiding judge: “I do not believe that I have committed a crime”.