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Brightstar to fight £21 million Swedish tax fraud allegation

Paul Lipscombe
February 3, 2021

Swedish tax agency demands repayment of VAT claims

Brightstar UK says it is unaffected by an investigation by the Swedish tax authorities which is demanding Brightstar 20:20 in Sweden repays £21.6 million of tax claims.

The distributor denies any wrongdoing in regard to a tax fraud in Sweden following accusations from the Swedish Tax Agency that the distributor was aware or should have been aware of a tax scam perpetrated by another company.

“There’s no impact in the UK. It has got nothing to do with anywhere else, it’s purely an issue that the Swedish business is dealing with”, said a spokesperson from Brightstar UK.

The Swedish Tax Agency cited Brightstar 20:20’s in Sweden dealings with a Swedish mobile phone and consumer products distributor called Iskana, whose CEO was arrested last year in his absence for “serious economic crimes”.

Various media reports last week from Sweden that the Swedish Tax Agency has demanded payment of a quarter of a billion kronor (£21.6 million) in lost tax.

The Swedish Tax Agency argues Brightstar should have known that a fraud occurred earlier in the supply chain.

One outlet, The Teller Report says that Brightstar has even had its collaboration with Swedish e-tailer Dustin paused as a result.

The STA alleges Brightstar 20:20 Sweden was trading with companies suspected of being involved in Sweden’s biggest VAT carousel trading fraud.

Brightstar has vigorously denied the allegations saying: “Brightstar has firmly denied any wrongdoing and says it will appeal the Swedish Tax Agency’s decision. Brightstar has paid the appropriate VAT on all goods purchased and sold in Sweden.

“The Swedish Tax Agency has subsequently disqualified our VAT reclaim on some goods that we purchased, on the grounds that there was a fraudulent action by another company earlier in the transaction chain.

“Brightstar had no knowledge of any alleged VAT fraud perpetrated by others, and we are surprised by the Swedish Tax Agency’s initial ruling. We are therefore appealing the initial ruling. Brightstar has the highest ethical standards across all our operations and no tolerance for any type of fraud or offence.”

Brightstar 20:20 Sweden had sales of almost £56 million much of which came from mobile phones sales

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