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Clarifications for bloggers in case of criminal prosecution

Clarifications for bloggers in case of criminal prosecution

27 On April, the well-known Russian blogger Elena Blinovskaya was detained. The investigating authorities opened a criminal case against Ms. Blinovskaya on the fact of non-payment of taxes. According to the investigation, Blinovskaya did not pay more to the treasury 918 million rubles. She was detained while trying to cross the border by car. Ambassador “business officer, Head of the Expert Center for Criminal Law Policy and Enforcement of Judicial Acts of "Business Russia", RANEPA Associate Professor Ekaterina Avdeeva commented on this burning topic.

– Law enforcement agencies have learned to recognize the illegal schemes of bloggers to evade the main tax system, and consequently, and from paying taxes, which are subject to deduction in the budget.

Running is the worst strategy, which bloggers can choose. Demonstrating attempts to hide from the investigation, they themselves create grounds for choosing a measure of restraint in the form of detention, when it comes to crimes of at least moderate gravity, what I would like to point out, that even a qualified staff. 198 The Criminal Code of the Russian Federation belongs to the category of minor gravity, now legalization (laundering) Money, acquired by a person in connection with the commission of a crime.

What gives such a strategy?

Firstly, a criminal case has already been initiated. Secondly, under the conditions of hiding the face, the statute of limitations for criminal liability is suspended. Finally, when, after years, the person returns to his homeland, it will face criminal liability. And finally, his money and accounts will still be seized, at the same time, the amount on them may even be higher than the tax arrears, and the amount of the tax arrears will still have to be paid.

Why create problems for yourself, that only lead the situation to a standstill, without solving it, leading to loss of social status, and loss of money, and the risk of exclusion from society in places of deprivation of liberty?

Such a strategy indicates either a low legal literacy of persons, or bad legal advice, which turned out to be not in favor of the persons who applied to them.

What to do?

"Pay your taxes and sleep easy" – this slogan is as relevant as ever. In this case, we can recommend now, before it's too late, demonstrate awareness of errors and submit an amended declaration or, if information has already been received from the tax authority with a requirement to pay arrears, make payment immediately. Even after the initiation of a criminal case, one can expect its termination or release from criminal punishment in connection with Art.. 28.1 Criminal Procedure Code of the Russian Federation and Art. 76.1 Criminal Code of the Russian Federation depending on the stage, on which the full payment of the tax arrears occurs.

Whose side is the law on?

Thanks to the amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code of the Russian Federation that entered into force in March 2023 years in case of payment of tax arrears before a decision is made to initiate a criminal case, a decision is made to refuse to initiate a criminal case.

Even if the taxpayer does not agree with the amount, then “can be challenged later on both sides and in the framework of arbitration proceedings, to prove one's point". This was stated by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Business Russia forum in 2022 year, supporting the legislative initiative of Ekaterina Avdeeva.

How prevention works?

Random acts of individuals, persistent non-payment of taxes indicate low financial and legal literacy. To improve legal literacy, need to raise it, one of the channels is the largest business associations. It is on the platforms of business associations that active explanatory work is carried out, meetings and round tables are held with representatives of authorities, scientific community, experts and lawyers, in an open dialogue with which association members can consult, convey their problems and "pains" and offer ways to solve systemic issues.

For iexample, at the meetings of the Expert Center for Criminal Law Policy and Enforcement of Judicial Acts of "Business Russia" we regularly hold clarifications and meetings with representatives of law enforcement agencies and tax authorities, working out ways to protect the taxpayer, giving maximum explanations for them.


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