In the period from June 2018 to January 2021, employees of news agency BelaPAN submitted false information to the tax office, which led to non-payment of taxes totalling to over 100,000 rubles, the Belarusian Investigative Committee reports.
Former BelaPAN director Dzmitry Navazhylau, editor-in-chief Iryna Leushyna, and accountant Katsyaryna Boyeva are reported to be defendants in the so called mass riot case. According to the committee, a tax audit was initiated as part of of this case; in course of it, non-payment of 100,000 rubles was found.
In light of this, a criminal case under Article 243-2 of the Criminal Code (‘large-scale tax evasion’) has been instituted against Dzmitry Navazhylau, Iryna Leushyna, other persons, as well as media expert Andrey Alyaksandrau. If found guilty under this article, one may be sentenced to up to 5 years of restriction of liberty or 3 to 7 years in jail.
Iryna Leushyna, Dzmitry Navazhylau, and Katsyaryna Boyeva were detained under criminal proceedings for ‘organisation or preparation of actions that grossly violate public order’ on August 18 on the back of the raids on the editorial office and flats of BelaPAN journalists. The Belarusian human rights community recognised them as political prisoners.
BelaPAN is the first independent Belarusian news agency, it was founded in 1991. The agency sells news to other publications and institutions and runs the online newspaper Naviny.by.