Dominican Republic lawmakers rake in millions in exotic car mafia
Santo Domingo.- Exotic sports and luxury cars, buses for mass transport, SUVs of the year … This is how mixed is the list of 1,148 imported vehicles under the name of Dominican legislators, of which many, covered by a law that allows them to bring any unit to the country tax-free regardless of its cost, they have found a business opportunity with the sale of this benefit, for which in the last 11 years the State has failed to collect RD$2.6 billion (US$47.3 million) in taxes.
Among the legislators the price of the transfer is known: up to US$20,000 or RD21 million. There are even those who do not know why in the records of the General Customs Directorate there is an effective exemption in their name. This was verified by Diario Libre, when asking a deputy (who asked not to be identified) about the Lamborghini sports car, valued at more than US$180,000, which was imported in his name in 2021 -according to official data-, he was not aware of what was being talked about.
Another, the deputy Eduardo Hidalgo, understands that it must be an error that in Customs two Land Rover SUVs, Range Rover model, imported under his name in 2020 and 2021, and for which the State stopped receiving RD$5.1 million in taxes.
“Let’s be honest,” says the deputy and spokesman for the PLD bloc, Gustavo Sánchez, in his office in the National Congress. “The legislators, in a high percentage, more than 90 percent, what they do is ‘transfer’ that document, which is a paper, to someone who does not want to pay the taxes of bringing a luxury vehicle.” He explains that this exchange can be done with individuals, “powerful friends” or vehicle sales businesses.
Among the legislators there are those who prefer not to be identified to speak with Diario Libre.