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Businessmen Ask Putin to Ease Punishment for Tax Evasion

Attacks at businessmen occur at the background of the wide-spread concealment of actual earnings by people in Russia
The Russian lobbyist organizations of entrepreneurs, the Russian Union of Entrepreneurs and Industrialists, OPORA (the Association of Russian Entrepreneur Organizations) and Delovaya Rossiya (Business Russia), have appealed to Russia President Vladimir Putin to discuss the present-day situation concering the relations between law enforcement structures and businessmen. The information was provided by Vice-president of the Russian Union of Entrepreneurs and Industrialists Igor Yurgens at a press-conference.

The businessmen's appeal states that "recently, relations between businessmen and authorities have become aggravated." The state once again brings criminal charges in connection with underpay of taxes against businessmen who have declared their earnings voluntarily. "And this happens against the background of the wide-spread concealment of actual earnings," the appeal states.
 
Entrepreneurs say that "instead of fighting against tax-dodgers, law enforcement structures severely punish those who are brave enough to run business openly and reveal the information about their actual earnings. Entrepreneurs think that the line followed by the authorities force the society to resort to contrary measures - concealment of earnings and tax evasion."
 
What is more, the letter says that "on suspicion of economic crimes, law enforcement authorities take into custody entrepreneurs who are not at all dangerous from a social point of view."   
 
In connection with the above mentioned problems, the Russian Union of Entrepreneurs and Industrialists, OPORA and Delovaya Rossiya have asked the president to holding a meeting with representatives of the business community to discuss ways to overcome of the complicated situation, Russia's news agency Interfax reports.   

As it is typical for appeals of this kind, the letter from the business lobbyists does not name any particular individuals or companies. However, they obviously mean the Yukos oil company. The other day, officials of the RF Prosecutor's Office voiced their intention to conduct repeated interrogation of Yukos Chief Executive Officer Mikhail Khodorkovsky and said they would contact Yukos top managers concerning nonpayment of taxes from their individual earnings.

The charges of nonpayment of taxes have been already brought against Yukos shareholder, MFO Menatep Head Platon Lebedev and head of the Yukos-Moscow managing company Vasily Shakhnovsky. 

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