While Ukraine remains a promising destination for agribusiness investments, massive red tape, bureaucracy and shakedowns by the authorities are a constant hassle that can cut into profit margins and patience of a business. In particular, businesses complain state services, particularly tax and customs, are treating them as cash cows and harassing them with incessant inspections..
One of the loudest recent examples of the problems faced by companies came when Bunge unveiled the Odesa office of its subdivision Suntrade was raided by tax authorities on Aug. 28. According to the company, the agents confiscated documents, computers and personal items of employees in connection to an ongoing investigation. They also seized the company’s VAT refunds and costs for transactions with allegedly suspicious companies. This amounted to around Hr 3.3 million ($400,000), a Bunge spokesperson told the Kyiv Post.
The state tax service has brought two cases against Suntrade, for large scale tax evasion and property misappropriation and embezzlement. The company is appealing against these cases.