Criminal Case Brought against Mikhail Varanets
On 27 April the criminal case upon article 243 “Evasion from payment of taxes” was brought against the head of Slonim City Public Association “Will for Development” Mikhail Varanets. He was summoned to interrogation as a suspect. The reason for the case initiation was that the organization allegedly violated the order of usage of the financial means that was received as financial aid within the framework of the TACIS program in 2003.
The means, issued to the PA “Will for Development” for fulfillment of the teenage club “Sviatlitsa” was freed from taxes by agreement between Belarusian government and European Commission. However, Slonim Town Tax Inspection decided to follow not the international agreement (that is supreme to all Belarusian national laws and normative acts) but the instructions that provide payment of taxes from all programs of foreign free aid.
On 16 April for this “violation” the PA “Will for Development” was deprived of its property. Besides, the tax inspection imposed on it about $15 000 fine. Taking into consideration the huge volume of the allegedly non-paid taxes, Slonim financial police initiated the criminal case. Article 243 of the Criminal Code provides up to 3 years of jail as punishment.
Simultaneously, Mikhail Varanetsk sued to Slonim Borough Court against the illegal actions of the financial police officer Uladzimir Yurchak, who psychologically pressurized him and violated his process rights.
This criminal case is similar to the case against the head of the republican human rights organization “Belarusian Helsinki Committee” Tatsiana Protska and the accountant of the organization Tatsiana Rudkevich, who are also charged with misuse of the financial means, received on TACIS program. On 23 April Mrs. Protska was summoned to the first interrogation.
Assembly of Democratic NGOS