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Editing by Nathaniel Cajuday
Joseph Calata, the former owner of the controversial Calata Agribusiness, is currently facing charges of tax evasion from the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
Along with Calata, Agri Phil, the retail arm of Calata Corp. that specializes in feeds, agrochemicals, veterinary medicine, fertilizers, and seeds manufacturing, was charged for “willful failure to pay taxes,” amounting to P88.865 million, inclusive of penalties and interest, in 2012.
The advisory regarding Calata’s charges, along with those of other tax-evading companies and individuals, was published by the BIR Region 5 in Caloocan City on October 28, 2022. The cases were filed under the Run After Tax Evaders (RATE) program. The accumulated total aggregate liability of these tax evaders is ₱398.13 million.
“The respondents’ failure and continued refusal to file or pay their long overdue deficiency taxes, despite repeated demands, constitute willful failure to file or pay the taxes due to the government,” BIR stated.
In 2017, Calata Corp. was delisted by the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) for insider trading and failing to disclose material information to the public in a timely manner. At the same time, its president, Calata himself, was permanently banned by the PSE from holding any position in a listed company.
To counter this, Calata devised a plan five years ago to move to a cryptocurrency exchange by converting all their outstanding 570 million shares in the company into a coin called “Calcoins.” (Read more: Agribusiness Calata to Take Firm to Cryptocurrency Exchange, Introduce Calcoins)
In January 2018, Calata Corp’s venture into crypto pushed through but did not go exactly as planned, as their move to an exchange was not successful and their initial coin offering (ICO) was based and registered in Hong Kong and not with Calata Corp itself. It is under Black Cell Technology, still a Calata-owned firm.
While the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) stated that it was looking into this, Calata stated that it has no jurisdiction over the matter because KROPS is registered in Hong Kong.
However, to offer securities in the Philippines, a firm still needs to register and be regulated by the Commission. (Read more: SEC Studies Calata-led KROPS ICO)
After a few days, the SEC officially released an advisory to halt three Calata-led firms from selling KropCoins (or KropTokens) through an ICO. They noted that Calata’s Black Cell Technology Incorporated, Black Sand Capital Incorporated, and Black Cell Technology Limited were all reported to offer securities through KropCoins and Krop Tokens without a license from the Commission. (Read more: SEC Moves to Stop Calata-Led Krops ICO)
In line with this, Calata reacted through his interview with Cathy Yang in ANC. According to him, the SEC has been uncooperative. They apparently sent a letter of communication to the Commission five days prior to the release of the Cease and Desist order against their ICO; as per Calata, they did not receive a reply at all.
Two months after the Commission’s order, Hong Kong followed the SEC’s lead in shutting down the operations of KROPS through an official Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) bulletin for devising an unauthorized collective investment scheme (CIS). (Read more: Hong Kong Regulator Stops Calata-led Krops ICO)
In 2019, a year after the delisting of Calata Corp., the SEC upheld the decision of the PSE, as the company had violated several rules and regulations. (Read more: Philippines SEC Upholds PSE Delisting of Calata Corp)
For this year’s celebration of World Investor Week, the SEC assured the public that it would further put emphasis on educating and steering the public toward legitimate investments, as the theme emphasizes the importance of investor resilience and sustainable finance.
Currently, the Commission still seeks to acquire jurisdiction and appropriate powers to control other cybercrimes that involve digital assets. (Read more: SEC: Law Focusing on Digital Assets Needed)
This article is published on BitPinas: Calcoins, KropToken Founder Jose Calata Charged by BIR for Tax Evasion
Disclaimer: BitPinas articles and its external content are not financial advice. The team serves to deliver independent, unbiased news to provide information for Philippine-crypto and beyond.