Court Proceedings on Radio Liberty’s Lawsuit Suspended

August 17th, 2016

azadliq

Summary: Hearing 2

 Khamis Seyranov, the representative of the defendant Ministry of Taxes, filed a motion to stay proceedings on the ground that the investigation against RFE/RL Inc. Company carried out by the Serious Crimes Investigation Department of the Prosecutor General’s Office was yet to be completed;
 Plaintiff Radio Liberty’s representative Adil Ismayilov asked the court to deny the motion;
 The presiding judge sustained the motion and issued a ruling on a stay of proceedings.

Baku Administrative Economic Court #1, chaired by Judge Elchin Mammadov, held a hearing on the lawsuit filed by the Azerbaijani Representative Office of the RFE/RL Inc. Company (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty) against the Ministry of Taxes. Radio Liberty is seeking the invalidation of the tax audit report dated 10 March 2016 on the results of the on-site tax inspection of the Radio’s Azerbaijani Representative Office and the annulment of Baku Taxes Department deputy chief Ragif Gurbanov’s decision adopted on the basis of this inspection record. The inspection report has imposed an obligation on the Radio Liberty to pay a penalty of 131,540 AZN. The tax audit covered the period from 1 December 2007 through 1 December 2014. The Radio’s lawsuit was previously deemed inadmissible by the ruling dated 29 June 2016 of Baku Administrative Economic Court #1. However, the case was later considered admissible by the Supreme Court, which referred it back to the Administrative Economic Court #1.

Defendant’s motion:

At today’s hearing, Khamis Seyranov, the representative of the Ministry of Taxes, filed a motion to suspend the proceedings on the case. He argued that the lawsuit should not be heard due to the fact that there was an ongoing investigation against RFE/RL Inc. Company carried out by the Serious Crimes Investigation Department of the Prosecutor General’s Office.

Plaintiff Radio Liberty’s representative Adil Ismayilov objected to the motion. He challenged the opposite party to present evidence to the court regarding the fact that the investigation was yet to be completed. “If the investigation is in progress, then how come the tax authority has completed the audit, drawn up a report and fined us? In my opinion, the court proceedings should continue,” Ismayilov said.

After a brief deliberation, Judge Elchin Mammadov granted the motion and announced the ruling to stay proceedings.

Background: The Baku office of the Radio Liberty was raided by the Serious Crimes Investigation Department of the Prosecutor General’s Office on 26 December 2014, its equipments were confiscated and office door was sealed shut.