Criminal prosecution of TVi Director stopped
The widely condemned criminal proceedings initiated by the tax police against Mykola Knyazytsky, Director of the independent television channel TVi have been dropped.
Following considerable protest from media and human rights NGOs and foreign governments, the Prosecutor General’s office has announced that the Kyiv Prosecutor has cancelled the decision to initiate criminal proceedings. It states that the decision was taken without a proper check and without sufficient grounds.
Mykola Knyazytsky’s lawyers lodged an appeal against the decision on 19 July.
As reported, the tax police visitation, came less than 4 months before the October parliamentary elections with the tax authorities accusing the channel, as represented by its director of tax evasion. Mykola Knyazhytsky was categorical from the outset that the case had no basis. He says that the case involves alleged non-payment of VAT, and that it has been initiated after the channel won the relevant court case. When they started out in 2008, they needed to buy all the equipment and paid VAT on it, even though it was exempt from the tax. The authorities did not wish to return the VAT, so the channel deducted this amount when settling their tax accounts. According to Knyazhytsky, all tax checks up till now have confirmed that this was legitimate.
Mr Knyazytsky’s believe that the tax police actions were aimed at silencing critical voices and directed against freedom of speech were widely shared.
They are also confirmed by new events, since from last Friday viewers in 11 cities have been unable to receive TVi with the reasons given also very dubious.
More information about pressure on TVi here and in the links below.
New information from Telekritika – at present there is still no statement on the Prosecutor General’s website.