Ihar Lohvinau about the decision of the Economic Court: in fact, it means bankruptcy
January 9, the Economic Court of Minsk issued a verdict on the administrative case against the private publishing Unitary Enterprise "Lohvinau". For selling printed production without permission from the Ministry of Information the enterprise was sentenced a fine of 30 basic units, its income for the last year.
Moreover, the court ordered that the registered income of the enterprise for the last year, 961 million rubles, was to be confiscated.
The administrative case was instigated on the lawsuit of the Inspection of Dues and Taxes of the Tsentralny District of Minsk. The lawyer of the defendant solicited for attaching to the case the documents which confirm the incurred expenses such as rent, taxes, salaries and other business expenses, and indicate that the "Lohvinau" almost did not have any profit. "We believe that this might be a mitigating factor for the court," said the lawyer.
A representative of the Inspectorate found it impractical and Judge Siarhei Kulakouski turned the petition down.
The counsel acknowledged that “Lohvinau” indeed carried out its activities without any special license to distribute printed materials. But is there a fault of the defendant? "We believe that there is no guilt, because within a year we 6 times submitted documents to the Ministry of Information for obtaining a certificate for books trade, but each time the ministry found various minor and unfounded excusesnot to issue the document,” stated the lawyer. At present, the denials of the Ministry of Information are challenged at the Supreme Court.
Judge Kulakouski constantly interrupted the lawyer. He asked him: “Didn't you know that without this paper of the Ministry of Information you had no right to sell printed matter and that this would have certain consequences?”.
The judge also asked why Ihar Lohvinau hadn't appealed these denials earlier. The defendant explained that this demands extra time and finances, as well as engagement of a counsel.
The representative of the Inspectorate of the Ministry of Taxes and Duties of the Tsentralny district of Minsk stressed that it was not an ordinary negligence and carelessness in the course of business, but a direct intent and therefore, given the non-recognition of the defendant's guilt, the punishment should be adequate to the offense which could not be considered insignificant.
After a short break, the judge announced the decision: the publisher Ihar Lohvinau was to pay a fine of 5.4 million rubles with confiscation of the income in the amount of 961 million rubles.
Lohavinau has the opportunity to appeal the decision of the Economic Court of Minsk in the Supreme Court within 10 days.
Commenting on the judgment, Ihar Lohvinau noted that, apparently, "the country needs this billion rubles", adding that he did not have such money, as the income was not profit – it was spent on the current needs of the enterprise. In fact, it means bankruptcy.
He also added that the Ministry had been at war with him as a published for a long time already.
After the trial, it also became known that some journalists and writers were rudely prevented from coming to the court hall. The court guards explained it by referring to an order of the head of the press service of the Economic Court.
Let us remind that in December the tax inspectorate held an unscheduled tax audit at the bookstore “Lohvinau”. The bookstore was sealed, all documentation was checked. For the discovered violations the bookstore was sentenced to pay a fine of 961 million rubles. The main claim of the tax inspectorate was that the bookstore worked without having the license of the Ministry of Information for selling printed products. This innovation was introduced in January 2014.