[:en]The Baku”s Administrative and Economic Court No. 1 today held a regular meeting on the suit of the Ministry of Taxes against the investigative journalist Khadija Ismailova.
This process has been going on since February of this year and for the past time the presiding judge has already changed. The subject of the claim is that the Ministry of Taxes demands from Ismayilova 63,138 manat as a tax debt.
During the meeting, chaired by Mohammed Akperov, the journalist stated that the claim was unfounded.
“I think that the demands of the Ministry of Taxes is illegal. When I was head of the Baku Bureau of the “Azadlig Radio” I was not responsible for financial matters, and did not sign any financial documents. If even on the “Azadlig Radio” there was a hypothetical tax evssion, it doesn”t concern me, and I didn”t get any profit from it,” Ismayilova said.
The judge passed a private definition on reducing the debt demanded from Ismailova to 45 145 manat. At the same time, the arrest from Ismailova”s bank accounts was not lifted.
The judge, in particular, said: “Until the completion of the trial, the arrest of bank accounts in the amount of 43,145 manat will continue. Depending on the final decision of the court, the question of the arrest of accounts may be amended.”
The next court session will be held on December 21.
Ismayilova was arrested on December 5, 2014. She was later sentenced to 7.5 years in prison on charges of embezzlement, illegal business, tax evasion, and abuse of authority.
On May 25, 2016, the Supreme Court commuted her sentence, replacing imprisonment with a suspended sentence of 3.5 years with a 5-year probationary period. The charges of misappropriation and abuse were lifted. However, in November 2017, the Ministry of Taxes filed a lawsuit against Ismayilova in the amount of 63,138 manat. She was accused of not paying taxes 45,145 manat when she was head of the “Radio Azadlig” of Baku Bureau (2008-2010). In addition, she was accused of not concluding labor contracts for which employees had to pay income tax, and 4% simplified tax.
However, Ismayilova believes that the entire amount required from her is unreasonable, paying attention to the fact that the same amount of the Ministry of Taxes is required from Radio Azadlig. In addition, Radio Azadlig is not a commercial organization and it does not get profits. “How can radio be subject to income tax in this case?” It is noteworthy that Radio Azadlig”s accounts were also arrested,” Ismayilova said.
Her accounts were frozen in November 2017 after she received awards from a number of international organizations. And the other day its other account was frozen, where monetary compensation was transferred by decision of the European Court of Human Rights.
She told Turan that if the court imposes tax obligations on her, she will appeal to the ECHR. Currently, the ECHR is considering 12 complaints of Ismayilova and, in many cases, the communication has been completed, and in one case the Strasbourg court ruled in her favor.