According to the Dutch Tax Administration, €100 million in taxes have been evaded in the trade in exclusive show jumping and dressage horses reports the Dutch newspaper AD. Investigation services fear large-scale money laundering in the equestrian industry.
An investigation by the Tax Administration, which looked at some 200 files, yielded €100 million in after-tax payments and fines. This concerns breeders, riders, and other equestrian entrepreneurs, who sometimes use tax havens for foreign bank accounts and companies. There is also cooperation with surrounding countries; for example, traders in Belgium have to pay back €26,5 million in taxes.
“The horse industry has its own laws and regulations,” says the AD. “Even million-dollar deals are concluded based on handshakes and trust. Contracts are hardly used, and nowhere is it officially registered who is the owner of a horse. So determining the value of a top horse is, just like with art, a guesswork job.”The Financial Intelligence Unit, the institution that investigates unusual transactions, monitored many unusual transactions related to the horse world. Last month, Spanish horse trader Javier S. was convicted of money laundering; he received up to three-quarters of a year in prison.