Russian Party of Taxpayers faces probe over tax evasion propaganda

© Vladimir Trefilov
Russian prosecutors have launched a check into the activities of the political Party of Taxpayers after a complaint that its leader, Evgeny Sivkov, was promoting both legal tax optimization and criminal tax evasion schemes.

The Prosecutor General’s Office sent a letter to Lower House MP Anatoly Vyborny (United Russia) reading that it was investigating the activities of the Party of Taxpayers of Russia and had already extended the terms of the probe.

Earlier, Vyborny addressed Russian Prosecutor-General Yury Chaika and asked him to look into the activities of the Party of Taxpayers and Sivkov, as the latter was allegedly “openly promoting various schemes and algorithms aimed at dishonest optimization of tax payments and various ways to escape justice when getting illegal tax benefits.” The lawmaker claimed that Sivkov has published several books on the subject and distributes them on the internet.

In Vyborny’s view such activities can be considered an attempt to impede the work of state tax bodies and that activities of the Party of Taxpayers of Russia can be qualified as extremism. The lawmaker claimed that in one of the internet videos the head of this party was making a speech before schoolchildren and told them about technologies used in the so-called ‘color revolutions’ – the overthrow of lawfully-elected political regimes through intense protests by a ‘vocal minority’.

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Sivkov did not immediately comment on the news of the probe, but when the mass media quoted Vyborny’s original letter in December last year, he insisted that the quotations on which it was based were deliberately dragged out of context.

Those who say that I propagate extremist ideas and urge people not to pay taxes have never attended my seminars. There is nothing criminal in my work. On the contrary, I call for them to pay taxes,” Izvestia quoted the politician as saying.

The Party of Taxpayers of Russia was registered by the Justice Ministry in 2012 after the rules of registration were made significantly easier and the number of political parties started to grow.