Minsk, 7 September. BelaPAN Director General Iryna Lieŭšyna and Dzmitryj Navažylaŭ, the news agency’s former director general, have been formally charged with tax evasion under Part Two of the Criminal Code’s Article 243, a source with knowledge of the matter told BelaPAN.
The charges were brought against Ms. Lieŭšyna and Mr. Navažylaŭ last week. Their detention was extended by two months, according to the source.
The Investigative Committee announced on August 27 that it had opened a tax evasion case against Ms. Lieŭšyna and Mr. Navažylaŭ, as well as against former Deputy Director General Andrej Aliaksandraŭ, and “other persons.”
The criminal case was opened under Part Two of the Criminal Code’s Article 243, which penalizes tax evasion “resulting in large-scale damage” and carries a maximum penalty of seven years in prison.
The agency said that the executives had “knowingly” falsified information in tax documents in June 2018-January 2021, evading more than 100,000 rubels in taxes.
Mr. Aliaksandraŭ was arrested this past January. He was initially charged with financing mass disorder for allegedly helping protesters pay court-imposed fines. He was later charged with high treason.
Mr. Navažylaŭ, Ms. Lieŭšyna and BelaPAN accountant Kaciaryna Bojeva were arrested on August 18. On the same day, law enforcement officers raided BelaPAN’s office, which has since been sealed off, and seized the company’s servers, making its website inaccessible.
Ms. Bojeva was released on August 28.
In June 2018, the State Control Committee opened a tax evasion case against BelaPAN founder and then Director General Alieś Lipaj. The case was dropped shortly after he died in August 2018.
Mr. Navažylaŭ had served as BelaPAN’s director general since June 2018 before resigning from the position and leaving the company in January 2021. Ms. Lieŭšyna took over as director general on January 18, 2021.