NEW YORK, May 19, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The accounts of media mogul Alexander Lebedev could be frozen pending investigation on tax evasion. Member of Russian State Duma Nikolay F. Gerasimenko has filed a request for investigation of Lebedev’s connection with the offshore companies and alleged tax evasion practices to both Russian Internal Revenue Service and Criminal Police Unit, Russia! magazine reports.
Lebedev, who owns London newspapers the Evening Standard and I is known for his links with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He is also one of the richest people in the United Kingdom. According to the Duma Deputy’s statement sent to the Russian authorities, “Lebedev and his bank, NRC, could have attempted to circumvent the tax requirements by using highly dubious offshore financial models”. The list of offshore companies allegedly controlled by Alexander Lebedev, became known after publication of the ‘so-called Panama Papers’. Publication of the offshore records of Immortales International Inc. and other companies connected with the Lebedev family was quickly followed by release of email exchanges possibly connecting Lebedev with several tycoons and banks that were also connected to the Panama leak. Lebedev threatened legal action against the newspaper Versia, which broke the story first.
According to the Russian law, Duma deputy request warrants a mandatory investigation, which will affect both Lebedev and his company, NRC. Russia, being in the midst of the economic slowdown, has increased its efforts to collect taxes and likely to press charges against Lebedev or others should they find evidence of illegal activity.
“Following the publication of Panama papers, we can expect several high-profile cases in Russia against major businessmen or officials who failed to disclose their offshore holdings or failed to act according to the Russian president’s instructions: bring your money home. Lebedev’s case is big and interesting given Lebedev’s disdain for offshore companies,” says Michael Thompson, editor of Russia! magazine.
RUSSIA! is an independent magazine devoted entirely to Russia-related topics. With strong reporting and cutting-edge Russian graphic design, RUSSIA! offers the most original coverage of the people, trends, ideas and events that shape this fascinating and perplexing country.