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Ukrainian president’s firm challenges Russian assets seizure in tax probe

April 29, 2015, 17:24 UTC+3 LIPETSK
The criminal case against the Roshen confectionery was opened on charges of the fraudulent theft of 180 million rubles through the illegal VAT refund from the Russian budget
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© EPA/TASS/TATYANA ZENKOVICH

LIPETSK, April 29. /TASS/. Roshen Confectionary Corporation owned by Ukrainian billionaire President Petro Poroshenko has filed a protest to a Moscow court over a judgment to seize assets of its Lipetsk confectionary in central Russia in an embezzlement probe, a Roshen official said on Wednesday.

"The protest prepared by lawyers was filed to the Moscow City Court to challenge the lower court’s decision on the seizure of assets," Lipetsk confectionary Deputy CEO Oleg Kazakov said.

The Lipetsk confectionary reported on Tuesday investigators had seized its assets worth 2 billion rubles ($39 million) under a Moscow district court’s ruling as part of a criminal probe into the embezzlement of budget funds at the factory.

The Lipetsk confectionary deputy head said the plant’s management "disagrees with the property seizure in principle and especially considering the fact that the value of the assets seized considerably exceeds tax claims that total 180 million rubles ($3.5 million)."

Russia’s Investigative Committee said on April 1 investigators had searched Roshen’s Lipetsk confectionery as part of a criminal probe into the illegal 180 million-ruble value added tax refund.

The criminal case against the Roshen confectionery was opened on charges of the fraudulent theft of 180 million rubles through the illegal VAT refund from the Russian budget, Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said at the time.

The criminal case was opened on the basis of materials provided by Russia’s Federal Security Service, he said.

"For the purpose of seizing items and documents that are important for the criminal case, searches are being made today on the territory of the Lipetsk confectionery Roshen and in the offices of the research and production firm Metallimpress in Nizhny Novgorod," Markin said at the time.

According to investigators, representatives of these organizations sent forged documents to the Lipetsk regional tax inspectorate in 2012-2013 on the works allegedly fulfilled in 2012 and worth over 1 billion rubles ($17 million at the current exchange rate) for the construction of a confectionery and demanded a VAT refund of over 180 million rubles, Markin said.

However, the cost of works performed by sub-contractors hired by Metallimpress was clearly overstated and some organizations carried no financial or economic activities, he added.

The forged documents later served as the ground for transferring over 180 million rubles to the Roshen Lipetsk confectionery’s settlement account in an illegal VAT refund, the Investigative Committee spokesman said.

The investigation is continuing to find all the circumstances of this crime, Markin said.

Ukraine’s President Poroshenko pledged to sell his business assets after he was elected head of state in May last year.

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