Prosecutor General’s Office and ICR disagree on former Sakhalin Senator’s ‘tax case’
The Office has not approved the case of former Senator Zhanna Ivanova.
The case investigator attempted appealing the decision. Aleksandr Bastrikin, the Committee Head, supported him. However, they both failed to persuade Yuri Chaika, the Prosecutor General. Police did not do everything it could to properly investigate the case, according to the Office. The Office returned the case back to the Committee due to “the investigation conducted being incomplete and the Office thus not being able to approve the case and refer it to a court”.
May we remind you that a criminal case against Ivanova is a part of the so called 'anti-criminal cleansing' in the region. The accused used to be the representative of the Sakhalin region in the Federation Council of the Russian Federation from June 2012 to January 2016. The following people are also being prosecuted in the framework of the same case: Governor Aleksandr Khoroshavin, his staffers, and several Sakhalin public servants and MPs.
It is worth mentioning that investigative and supervisory agencies cooperated when conducting investigation against former region governor Aleksandr Khoroshavin. However, they disagreed once it came to criminal prosecution.
The Deputy Prosecutor General who is also the Russia's Far East Supervisor examined the case against Ivanova and ordered the case to be returned to the Committee for additional investigation due to it not containing enough evidence in his opinion.
Yuri Gulyakin pointed out that investigative agencies did not provide legal assessment of Ivanova and other accused allegedly having forged the documents, a deed punishable under the article 327 of the Criminal Code of the Russia Federation. He also pointed out that investigative agencies did not find any evidence proving Ivanova’s husband Sergey Ivanov was an accessory and evaded taxes, deeds punishable under the articles 30 and 199 of the Code. The criminal case against him was closed and criminal prosecution stopped.
The investigator decided to appeal the decision due to disagreeing with the Prosecutor General’s conclusions. It is worth mentioning that the Committee Head Aleksandr Bastrikin supported his appeal. He claimed nothing was in the way of approving the case.
However, Yuri Chaika dismissed the complaint. Moreover, Vladimir Malinovsky, another Deputy Prosecutor General, returned the 91-volume case to Bastrikin for additional investigation.
It is worth mentioning that the criminal case against Ivanova was opened in the wake of the Office and Federal Security and Tax Services Directorates in the Sakhalin region receiving anonymous messages. 2 apartment houses could be built on the money the City of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk spent on purchasing a Family Recreational Facility from the Kafa LLC, according to the messages. It is worth mentioning that the sum in question is 98 million rubles. The Tax Service and FSB got interested in the information.
The Federal Security Services Directorate accused Kafa of underpaying more than 30 million rubles of income taxes and VAT after signing the construction agreement. Sergey Ivanov, the Company Head at the time, did not agree with the accusation and filed a law suit to the Sakhalin Region Arbitral Tribunal in 2011. The court did not acknowledge that the Company underpaid 10 million rubles of income taxes and also significantly reduced its VAT debt. The Committee later reduced the debt by 600 000 rubles more in the framework of the criminal case concerned with tax evasion punishable under the article 199 of the Code. After that, the Company ended up with a 14.2 million rubles debt.
As for Kafa, the reference point the criminal prosecution of the Ivanovs, the spouses decided to launch their own business and founded the company as far back as in 2005, according to Zhdanova’s defense team. Ivanova stepped down as an MP after they began building the Facility in 2007. She became head of the Chamber of the United Russia Chairman in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk in 2008.
The spouses decided to rent out the Facility in 2009 due to construction materials price surge. The Facility was 70% complete at the moment. However, the spouses did not like the money potential tenants offered, for it did not cover construction expenses. Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk authorities got interested in the Facility later on. The local Recorder of deeds estimated the Facility at 98 million rubles. First, the Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk City Hall civil servants approved the purchase. Then, the Sakhalin Region Parliament supported the decision as well. The regional authorities allocated 94.8 million rubles from the budget as the result; the City provided 2.3 million rubles more. Attorney Ruben Markarianov pointed out that the investigation has nothing indicating a crime.
The Committee does not agree despite this. It is sure that Ivanova took advantage of her ties to Sakhalin region executive and legislative agencies to lobby the purchase. It was the time to pay taxes once Ivanova got almost 100 million rubles. That is when she and her husband forged documents stating their company bore some of the expenses in order to reduce the taxable amount. Now, the Committee is to prove that they did in fact commit the forgery to the Office.