Tuesday 22 January, 2019
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DOJ to indict Rappler execs, Maria Ressa for tax evasion

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Government prosecutors on Friday recommended the indictments of the officers of Rappler Holdings Corporation (RHC) including Maria Ressa and independent accountant Noel Baladiang for tax evasion.

This as the DoJ upheld during preliminary investigation the complaint filed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) against RHC and Ressa for willful attempt to evade or defeat tax, and willful failure to supply correct and accurate information under Sections 254 and 255 of the Tax Code.

The BIR claimed RHC, Ressa, and including RHC treasurer James Bitanga, did not reflect in RHC’s 2015 tax returns the total gain of almost P162.5M, which it realized from its issuance of Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDR) to NBM Rappler L.P. (NBM
Rappler) and Omidyar Network Find LLC (Omidyar).

The BIR alleged that on various dates between 2014 to 2015, RHC purchased a total of 119,434,438 common shares from Rappler, Inc. at P1 per share. RHC thereafter issued PDRs against most of the shares that it held to NBM Rappler and Omidyar.

The subscription price for said PDRs was P181,6M. RHC allegedIy gained close to P162,5M from the transaction, which it failed to declare in its tax return.         

On the other hand, the BIR accused accountant Baladiang of having violated Section 257 of the Tax Code for having certified the financial statements of RHC despite said corporation’s failure
to discIose its purchase of RI shares

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