Have you heard of the Slovakian “Acid Mafia“? They were the members of mafia who handled their debts by killing off one another. They also killed witnesses, who were predominantly strawpersons figuring on the boards of shady companies. The corpses of these victims were later dissolved in barrels filled with acid (hence the name of the group), which ended up at the bottom of Slovak dams.
It was one of the first so-called “carousel frauds” in Slovakia. In the years 2000-2002, an organized group of criminals profited from fictional trades. They created a web of dozens of companies, into which they put unsuspecting straw men who subsequently caused conclusive financial damage that was later uncovered in the form of VAT evasion exceeding the contemporary value of 120 million Slovak crowns.
At the same time, it was one of the biggest cases of economic criminality of this kind in Slovakia. It was not only well documented, but also dozens of culprits (those who survived) were sentenced to over 130 years in prison. All these facts were commonly known and up to this point the reaction of the government, the police and the justice system seems fair.
A lesser known fact (at first glance a detail) which, however, aptly documents where the government went overboard and crossed the border of reasonable reaction is that because acid was used to eliminate corpses, the government forbid the sales of acid in greater amounts. As a result, a company which needs a bigger amount of acid in order to etch window panels is nowadays forced to buy it in Czech Republic.
The principle that everybody shall be treated as a potential criminal is used by the government while creating every bill. If criminals carried bundles of cash in suitcases, the easiest and most arrogant solution would be to ban the use of cash everywhere. The law on criminal liability of legal persons is based on the idea that not just the suspects, but all parties will be burdened by annoying duties. As a result, the government would take control over all transactions where there is a possibility of tax evasion or some other crimes. In the recent past, in the name of transparency, Slovakia solved the problem of the so-called “mailbox companies“ by imposing registration duties. These do not only put burden on companies, but also on the public sector, which has to manage the information.
It’s a road to hell. If the government continues to act as if everyone were a “Acid Mafia“, it will lead to having to report everything we do to the government and having to ask for permission for every action we want to take. In the end, the parliament will have to pass as many bills as there are entrepreneurs and citizens. In the name of fighting illegal actions the government would have to send a policeman to every company or household. Orwell would be proud of our politicians and bureaucrats. Welcome to 1984.
Translated by Filip Bolčo