Head of company Sergei Mikhailov becomes accused in Cherkizovo criminal case

Head of company Sergei Mikhailov becomes accused in Cherkizovo criminal case
Sergei Mikhailov

Kommersant became aware of so far the only person involved in the criminal case, initiated against agricultural holding Cherkizovo. He turned out to be the general director of Cherkizovo group Sergei Mikhailov. He does not admit his guilt, explaining the tax dodging by "technical disagreements". He has already been charged, now he is under a written undertaking not to leave the place.

Mikhailov argues that "technical disagreements" arose between the fiscal bodies and the leadership of Cherkizovo, as the practice concerning applying tax rates when paying dividends has altered. And no one has warned the company about these changes. According to him, the company paid taxes and penalties immediately upon learning about the new taxation requirements.

On the eve the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) reported that Cherkizovo agriholding had not paid 288.3 million rubles ($4.9 m) to the budget. The company employed an illegal scheme of understating the tax rate from 15% to 5% when paying dividends to a Cypriot shareholder, which is a technical transit company. Kommersant learned that it was PAO Cherkizovo Group (controlled by Igor Babayev's family).

Senior lawyer of BGP Litigation Anastasiya Evtushenko explained that it was possible to pay 5% only if the Cyprus company was the beneficial owner, however when it came to a transit company, the reduced rate was impossible.

The investigation against the management of the enterprise has been carried out since July 17, 2017 - then the Main Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee for Moscow instituted criminal proceedings under part 2 of Art. 199.1 of the Criminal Code – A Tax Agent's Failure to Discharge His/Her duties. A source of Kommersant said that the investigation had enough evidence to consider the scheme as a planned one, and not a "technical error".

Yesterday the office of the company and the houses of Cherkizovo leaders were searched. As a result, the police seized items and documents indicative of illegal activities.

Previously, a subsidiary company of the agricultural holding was accused of swindling and preparation for a crime. The management of the meat processing enterprise submitted a false declaration to the tax authority, according to which they were to get compensation worth 16 million rubles ($277.4 thousand) of VAT.

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