Tax police descend on independent TVi channel
Five tax police officers have appeared at the opposition television channel TVi with a court order to remove documents and a criminal case has been initiated over alleged tax evasion amounting to 6 million UAH. TVi General Director Mykola Knyazhytsky says that they have already won a court case over the money in question and view this as another attack on freedom of speech.
Knyazhytsky says that the five officers arrived with video cameras and the court order. “They have initiated a criminal case against officials of the channel, in the given case against myself for allegedly failing to pay tax on the company’s activities. The matter is absolutely absurd, we have even won a court case and now after the court case, they’ve initiated criminal proceedings”.
“When we were just beginning, we bought equipment for which the state was supposed to return VAT. Since they refused to return it, we allowed for this unreturned VAT when paying taxes. And all previous tax checks said that this was legal. And now they say that we didn’t have the right to do it”.
TVi lawyers are presently speaking with the tax police officers.
“We see this situation as an unequivocal case of shameless and flagrant pressure on freedom of speech. You can’t call it by any other name since even the court ruling was in our favour”.
TVi began broadcasting on 17 March 2008.
In April Mykola Knyazhytsky stated that his channel was facing pressure from the tax authorities and called on the Interior Ministry and the Tax Service to deal with the situation. He stated then that they were facing another tax inspection only a few months after the previous one.
TVi is generally considered one of the two channels still giving wide coverage to the opposition and opinions critical of the current regime. It had its frequencies seriously curtailed in 2010.
Information about the new tax police visit from Liga.net