Despite the President’s decrees: the Bureau of Economic Security puts pressure on Ukrainian business


Columns on Business Censor

фото Астіон В.М.


Chairman of the Board of Directors and co-founder of the Dnipro Agro Group

Over the past week, almost all media outlets have been spreading the news about the allegedly meager bail of 1 million hryvnias when a preventive measure was chosen for Vasyl Astion, a businessman in the agricultural sector.

Detectives of the Bureau of Economic Security of Ukraine handed me a suspicion of tax evasion.

When choosing a preventive measure, the investigating judge recognized the suspicion under the specified article as unfounded. The groundlessness of the suspicion was directly evident from the court decisions that have entered into force, and from the information of the tax service itself.

The decisions of the administrative court, which were upheld by the court of appeals, declared illegal the tax notices-decisions, adopted as a result of inspections of the enterprises indicated in the suspicion.

Courts have established the correctness of the application of taxation of dividends, which were fully and reliably reflected in tax reporting. The tax authority issued certificates on the absence of indebtedness of the specified enterprises to the budget.

By the way, in the last three years alone, these enterprises have paid taxes to the budget in the total amount of almost 500 million hryvnias. Up to 1,000 people work and feed their families at the enterprises.

Such a just decision of the investigating judge overshadows the level of cynicism of the BEB, which, under the procedural guidance of the Office of the General Prosecutor of Ukraine, despite the obvious circumstances, continued the criminal prosecution, imposed arrests on all accounts of five operating agricultural enterprises, seized corporate rights, seized documents, conducted searches and other investigative actions.

In a month, the sowing campaign begins, and with seized accounts of enterprises, it is impossible at all. Such a situation is not uncommon today.

Why was this case given such publicity and by whom? The answer is simple – the unprofessional actions of the BEB in collaboration with the Prosecutor General’s Office must be compensated and justified by something.

It is their prediction that this “custom” case has no prospects, which forces the detectives to resort to its “coverage” in the press, and the responsibility for the negative result of the investigation will be assigned to someone else, who they openly accuse of having a corrupt connection with the business.

Also, these “ordered” articles, according to the detectives’ calculations, should influence the appellate and cassation courts.

It is easy to understand that the use of the agricultural land bank is the primary source of ordering something. It is also possible to imagine the end of this case – the spring field work will not take place, the harvest will not be harvested, shares will not be paid, taxes will not be paid. BANKRUPTCY!

And what about the criminal case itself? And no one will be interested in this. The land will be grabbed by others, perhaps those who lead the investigation.

The practice of recent years also allows us to identify a tendency to “hunt” precisely for big business, which is often a budget generator, the destruction of which will have negative consequences at the national level, and therefore requires a more attentive attitude from the side of judicial control.

As we can see, in the above-mentioned problem, which is able to “scare off” the bravest investors, low qualification and non-constructive motivation of law enforcement officers and procedural management can be observed.

Will the Decree of the President of Ukraine dated January 23, 2024 No. 21/2024 be useful to agricultural enterprises, according to which it is recommended to refrain for three months from conducting procedural actions in criminal proceedings, if such application can block the entrepreneurial activity of economic entities? Hardly.

The newly created structure of the BEB is becoming even worse than the former tax police.

Shocked by the lawlessness that took place last week and continues to this day. As for publications in the mass media, this is some kind of informational dirt that has nothing to do with me in any way. In order for the manipulation to be significant, phrases such as dealer, raider, thief and similar phrases are used in each sentence.

As for the specifics, the information presented in the articles does not correspond to reality. Yes, our companies worked and are working with various banks of Ukraine, by the way, to whom I now have to apologize for the content of the latest publications. All contracts with PJSC “Pivdenny” have been fulfilled, we have no complaints against each other.

As for the situation with the prosecution of me by the BEB detectives, this is indeed happening. Criminal proceedings are taking place for non-payment of taxes, which has not been confirmed by anyone.

The absence of tax arrears to the state has been confirmed by the tax service itself and by decisions of administrative courts. When choosing a preventive measure in the form of bail, the judge of the Shevchenkiv District Court of the city of Kyiv recognized the suspicion as unfounded.

During the investigation, BEB detectives, under the close supervision of the Prosecutor General’s Office, seized all statutory documents and seized all accounts of five agricultural enterprises. In fact, their work is blocked. Enterprises do not have the opportunity to buy fertilizers and fuel, pay for electricity and spare parts.

It is not possible to fulfill its obligations to banking institutions, creditors and ordinary shareholders. Almost 1,000 people will remain without wages.

However, BEB continues its pressure without giving up and has registered another criminal case for tax evasion against other enterprises where I am the beneficial owner.

In this case, even a tax audit was not conducted. I cannot divulge the plot of this case, but I know who is ordering all this dirt about me, it is a Ukrainian businessman, in the past a large producer of chicken, who, together with the employees of the BEB and the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, decided to be responsible for the fact that he does not return debts to banks, should Astion.

I draw the attention of all interested parties. The situation must gain publicity!

Based on the materials of Business Censor


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