Updated at 11:07,12-12-2017

Businessman Chyzh charged with felony tax evasion

By Vyachaslaw Budkevich, BelaPAN

Yury Chyzh, the owner of the Triple conglomerate, has been formally charged with felony tax evasion, an offense penalized under Part Two of the Criminal Codes Article 243.

The businessman, who was arrested on March 11, remains in custody, Dzmitry Pabyarzhyn, spokesman for the Committee for State Security (KGB), told BelaPAN.

Speaking to reporters last week, KGB chief Valery Vakulchyk said that Mr. Chyzh had used a Moscow-based dummy company in his tax evasion scheme.

The company officially employed one person, who acted as Mr. Chyzh's aide and driver during his visits to the Russian capital, he said.

Evidence of the businessman's involvement in the tax evasion scheme was discovered by the KGB in the framework of its inquiry into the activities of Uladzimir Yapryntsaw, Mr. Chyzh's longtime business partner. The inquiry had been opened at the request of Mr. Chyzh and his two Russian business partners, said Mr. Vakulchyk.

According to the KGB chief, the dummy company was registered in 2012. Mr. Chyzh's Triple conglomerate made the Russian company the owner of its trademark and started transferring money to its account under the guise of payments for using the trademark. The money was regularly withdrawn from the account and handed to Mr. Chyzh, said the official.

Mr. Chyzh is often described as the wealthiest businessman in Belarus.

In March 2012, the European Union added Mr. Chyzh to the list of Belarusian individuals subject to an entry ban and an asset freeze for their role in Alyaksandr Lukashenkas crackdown on political opponents.

In October 2015, the EU General Court abolished the restrictive measures against Mr. Chyzh and entities controlled by him, including the soccer club FC Dynama Minsk.

After considering the Belarusian business tycoon's lawsuit seeking the abolition of the sanctions, the Court found that the Council of the European Union had provided no evidence showing that Mr. Chyzh financially supported the Lukashenka regime and ruled that the sanctions were not justified.

In 2013, Mr. Chyzh was awarded the Third-Class Order of the Fatherland by Mr. Lukashenka.