YPC Weekly Newsletter

2007


TAX AUDIT OVER AT “GALA” TV COMPANY

On November 12 the Public Relations Department of the RA State Tax Service
informed that as a result of an audit of the activities of “CHAP” LLC, the founder
of “GALA” TV company of Gyumri, a number of serious violations were revealed.
In particular, when comparing the documentation of “CHAP” LLC, submitted to
the National Commission on Television and Radio, with the accounts of the company
itself and the tax reports for September 2005 – September 2007, the auditors
revealed concealed amounts of TV advertising, as a result of which the company
has to pay about 26 million AMD to the state budget (including the penalties).
Besides, as the audit showed, the TV tower that “GALA” founder uses is owned
by Gyumri municipality, is not rented by the company and is operated by it illegally.

The owner of “CHAP” LLC Vahan Khachatrian, on his behalf, announced that “GALA”
TV could not have had the advertising volumes that the tax service based its
calculations on. As to the TV tower, as Vahan Khachatrian noted, the certificate
of ownership of the tower was received by Gyumri municipality only on November
5, 2007. Till that time, in 2004-2005, he addressed various agencies but was
unable to find the tower owner. According to Vahan Khachatrian, he operated
the TV tower that had no one take care of since 2005, with a preliminary renovation
and enforcement of the transmitter.

On November 14 Vahan Khachatrian made a statement noting he was going to challenge
the tax audit results and currently the auditors he invited are studying the
materials. Having reminded about the common practice of using tax audits as
a tool for exerting pressure on media, “GALA” owner stressed that the situation
with the TV company has political underpinning. “What prevented the State Tax
Service from auditing the activities of “GALA” TV company a year ago or 10 days
after the elections?”, Vahan Khachatrian concluded.

As it has been reported, the tax audit at “CHAP” LLC started on October 29.
Earlier, on October 22, Vahan Khachatrian released a statement regarding the
attempts of various power agencies to exert pressure on “GALA”, stressing the
firmness of the TV channel’s stand and his readiness to stop any attempt of
intervention with its editorial policy. “GALA” made a detailed coverage of the
tax audit, during which, on November 6, an incident occurred between the cameraman
of the company Grigor Shaghoyan and a tax inspector. Currently the journalist’s
appeal about his legitimate professional activities being impeded is being considered
by the Gyumri police department (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, November
2-8, 2007
).