BelaPAN director released after interrogation, charged with tax evasion

BelaPAN news agency founder and director general Ales Lipai (right). Photo:

A criminal case has been opened against the director of BelaPAN news agency Ales Lipai under Article 243 (2) in the Penal Code of Belarus, which deals with a large-scale tax evasion, says the press office of Financial Investigations Department at the State Control Committee.

Euroradio reported earlier, on 14 June financial police agents raided Lipai's apartment in Minsk. The search lasted for four hours. Afterwards, Lipai was taken for interrogation and released several hours later.

The financial police authorities claim that in 2016-2017 BelaPAN director received from abroad an income in amount of over 1.3 million rubles ($650 000) but did not mention it in his tax declarations and did not pay a tax on this amount. The police estimated the unpaid tax in amount of over 173 000 rubles.

Lipai had reportedly admitted the violation and on Tuesday, 12 June when the criminal case was opened paid the income tax plus penalties - a total over 191 000 rubles. According to the financial police, since the losses of the state amounted to over 1000 base rates (24500 rubles), the police had to open a criminal case and investigate the wrongdoing regardles of the fact that the tax was eventually paid.