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July 29, 2013 1:17 pm

Turkish Airlines Investigated for Alleged Tax Fraud in Israel

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Turkish Airlines Airbus A330-200. Photo: Terence Ong. The Israeli office of Turkish Airlines is currently being investigated for alleged tax evasion amounting to over 1.5 million shekels ($418,000), a statement by the Israeli Justice Ministry said Monday.

According to the statement, the Tel Aviv District Prosecution’s Taxes and Economics Department is considering pressing criminal charges against the company as well as the head of its local office, Fatih Dogan, for failing to meet Israel’s Tax Authority guidelines for foreign companies operating in Israel. The decision is pending a hearing before the head of the Taxes and Economics Department, attorney Mina Zamir.

Turkish Airlines in considered one of the world’s leading international carriers, and was ranked the seventh-best airline in the world in 2012 and the fastest-growing airline worldwide in 2011. The company’s Israeli office numbers dozens of Turkish employees, whose wages are subjected to both Turkish and Israeli tax laws.

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The Tel Aviv District Prosecution believes that between 2006 and 2010 the airline filed false tax reports in Israel, and that the wages paid to the company’s Turkish employees—which were deposited in their bank accounts in Istanbul—were higher than the wages declared in Israel for taxation purposes.

This method allegedly allowed Turkish Airlines’ Israeli office to pay its employees “under the table” and avoid deducting taxes that should have been paid to the Israeli authorities.

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