On March 19 the RA Administrative Court announced a decision on the dispute
between Gyumri Tax Inspection and the founder of “GALA” TV company, “CHAP” LLC.
As it has been reported, on October 22, 2007 the owner of “CHAP” LLC Vahan Khachatrian
issued a statement regarding the attempts of various power agencies to exert
pressure on the TV channel. The document stressed the infallibility of the TV
channel’s stance and the readiness to prevent any attempt of intervention into
its editorial policy. One week after the statement a tax audit started at “CHAP”,
after which the RA State Tax Service reported the violations revealed. In particular,
this referred to concealed amounts of TV advertising. The owner of “CHAP” Vahan
Khachatrian, on his behalf, announced that “GALA” could not have the advertising
volume that the calculations of the tax officers based on. On November 27, the
RA Commercial Court accepted a lawsuit versus “CHAP” from Gyumri Tax Inspection
with a demand to recover from “CHAP” the tax liabilities. Through a motion of
the tax officers on December 3 the property and finance of “CHAP” were taken
into custody. On December 17 the court hearings started. The case was further
taken to be considered by the RA Administrative Court (by the judicial reform,
the Commercial Court is abolished in Armenia since 2008). On February 8 the
hearings were interrupted until the results of the technical assessment, demanded
by a motion of “CHAP” LLC, came in (see the details in YPC Weekly Newsletter,
8-14 February, 2008).
In the session on March 19, the Administrative Court obliged “CHAP” LLC to
pay into the state budget tax debts and fines, exceeding the amount of 25 million
drams (more than $ 81,000).
On March 18, the Headquarters to Protect Freedom of Expression and “GALA” TV
issued a call to support the TV company: “We must be prepared to any court decision.
If the judge upholds the charge of the Tax Inspection, which is highly probable,
“GALA” TV company will be either forced to immediately pay the amount and, remaining
on air, continue its fight to receive compensation for the damages incurred,
or it will be simply deprived of air, as the government will put the property
of the TV company under an auction to take the demanded amount.” The Headquarters
also announced about the intention to implement a telemarathon to collect assistance
in support of “GALA”.
In the morning of March 19 a telemarathon was started on “GALA” channel, which
will continue till the necessary amount is collected. At the moment of release
of YPC Weekly Newsletter, more than 10 million drams have been collected. Assistance
in support of “GALA” can be transferred to the following accounts: in Armenian
drams – Vahan Khachatryan, “UNIBANK” CJSC, Gyumri branch, Acc: 2410 3101 2610;
in US dollars – Intermediary Bank: Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas, New
York SWIFT: BKTR US 33 Beneficiary’s bank: UNIBANK, Armenia, SWIFT: UNIJ AM
22 Acc: 0443 7920 “UNIBANK” CJSC GYUMRI BRANCH Beneficiary: Khachatryan Vahan
Account: 2410 3111 2618.