YPC Weekly Newsletter

2008


DRIVER OF GYUMRI TAX INSPECTION IMPEDED THE WORK OF “GALA” TV JOURNALISTS

On May 16, at about 16.00, Artak Harutiunian, the driver of the office car
of the Head of the Tax Inspection of Gyumri, impeded the professional duty of
the correspondent of “GALA” TV company of Gyumri Armineh Vardanian and cameraman
Artem Adamian. The driver twice hit the camera of the cameraman who shooting
in front of the tax inspection and then put the correspondent of the TV company
out of the lobby by force.

An application on the incident with journalists was submitted to the Gyumri
Police Division that started the investigation. The occurrence was also covered
by “GALA” newscasts.

The journalists of “GALA” were preparing a report about the change of the Head
of Gyumri Tax Inspection. The former Head Martin Zilfimian is transferred to
an equivalent position, that of the Head of Aparan Tax Inspection. The press
release of the Headquarters to Protect Free Expression and “GALA” TV company
of May 16, 2008 noted that while heading the Gyumri Tax Inspection Martin Zilfimian
was a “commander of one of the fronts in the large-scale attack on the TV company,
initiated in October 2007”. As the press release informs, on October 16, 2007
Martin Zilfimian invited the owner of “CHAP” LLC, the founder of “GALA” TV company,
Vahan Khachatrian, and for an hour he was convincing Khachatrian not to provide
air to the opposition, and further on made quite a lot of effort to start litigation
against the TV company and recovering its tax liabilities. As it has been reported,
on October 22, 2007 the owner of “CHAP” LLC 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. 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, 2007 the lawsuit from Gyumri Tax Inspection
with a demand to recover from “CHAP” the tax liabilities was admitted for consideration.
Through a motion of the tax officers on December 3 the property and finance
of “CHAP” were taken into custody. On March 19, 2008 the RA Administrative Court
obliged “GALA” founder to pay tax debts and fines. Taking into account court
and execution expenses the overall amount reached over 26 million AMD (about
$ 90,000). The debt was paid off mostly through the funds raised during the
unprecedented telethon, held for almost a week on live air of “GALA” (see YPC
Weekly Newsletter, March 28 –
April 3, 2008
).