Monday, September 17, 2007

You talkin' to me?

Follow that car, it might be part of the crime wave:

A large number of Oslo taxi drivers already have been charged with tax evasion and welfare fraud. Now Oslo police suspect around 40 drivers and even more taxi owners of having close contact with Pakistani gangs, and operating as couriers of arms and drugs. some cases, the taxis are used as getaway cars after gang offensives in Oslo and the surrounding area.

....Local tax officials claim 337 taxi owners have failed to report an estimated NOK 406 million in income, while 589 drivers have driven black-market taxi operations to the tune of NOK 116 million.

....Nearly 900 taxi owners and drivers have received more than NOK 100 million in state welfare payments, at the same time they're believed to have driven black-market operations. More than 100 of them have been reported to police, and 20 have been convicted of welfare fraud. Another 350 have been warned that they face welfare reimbursement demands totalling NOK 57 million.

Aftenposten reported on Sunday that a 39-year-old taxi owner sold his house just before he was forced into bankruptcy for failure to pay millions in taxes and fees owed to the state. It's unclear what became of the proceeds of the sale, however, and the 39-year-old now lives on Norwegian welfare, even though he's linked to successful businesses in Pakistan including a bus company, a gas station and several retail stores.

Other taxi owners and drivers charged with tax evasion in Norway are known to have large, expensive homes in Pakistan, where their families live affluent lives.

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