23 January 2021, Saturday, 7:46
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Autukhovich: “Tax inspectors extorted money from me”

11

The businessman from Vaukavysk pleads not guilty and says he fought against corruption.

Interrogation of Alyaksandr Laryn at the trial over Mikalai Autukhovich and other persons accused of preparation of a terroristic act ended in the Supreme Court on March 22. Interrogation of Mikalai Autukhovich started. As Radio Svaboda reports, the entrepreneur said he “had faced problems after he had refused to give money to tax inspection officers.”

Layers Tamara Sidarenka and Pavel Sapelka asked Alyaksandr Laryn why his evidence at the trial was different from that he had given during the investigation. Alyaksandr Laryn’s more popular answers were ‘I don’t remember’ and ‘I don’t want to answer’. It was found out that Laryn had been questioned without a lawyer at the beginning of the investigation. Allegedly, it was done on Laryn’s will.

“I suppose that if a person thinks something out or if his or her evidence was composed by an investigator, it is difficult for him to repeat it at a trial a year later,” public activist Mikalai Dzyamidzenka commented on the trial. “This is how I explain confusion, inconsistence, and errors in Laryn’s evidence.”

Judge Alyaksei Tsyatsyukhin clarifies Alyaksandr Laryn’s evidence. In particular, the judge returned to the events on October 28, 2005, when Alyaksandr Laryn allegedly made an attempt to fire a grenade launcher at Uladzimir Sauchanka, the head of the Hrodna region executive committee. The judge found out that Laryn didn’t see and couldn’t see Sauchanka’s car, as the car had been in the yard and Sauchanka had seen guards’ car in the street. Laryn says the car stood at a distance of 200 metres, it was “rather dark”. Laryn allegedly was standing behind a lilac bush covered with a camouflage net, so a street cleaner didn’t notice him. According to Laryn he was “on the site” for 20–25 minutes. Three days ago, Laryn said he had been there for about 3 hours. The judge also cleared up Laryn’s aim.

Judge Tsyatsyukhin: “You have said you were standing covered with a camouflage net and watching. What were you watching?”

Laryn: “I was watching the car and people nearby.”

Judge Tsyatsyukhin: “For what purpose?”

Laryn: “To esteem the situation.”

Judge Tsyatsyukhin: “And then?”

Laryn: “I refuse to answer.”

Mikalai Autukhovich was also questioned. The businessman said he didn’t exclude slander by Laryn. “His actions were mean, so he is just trying to defend himself now,” Autukhovich said about Laryn’s behavior at the trial. Mikalai Autukhovich promised to tell later what Laryn had committed.

Mikalai Autukhovich said Uladzimir Asipenka was an “absolutely honest person”. He said they had been struggling together against violations by certain officers of the Vaukavysk tax inspection. The struggle started after a conversation with a tax officer.

“She offered that I should pay a certain sum every month for my business activity. I responded I paid a single tax for my taxi business, I didn’t deceive anyone and couldn’t have shady income. The whole town knew that if a driver doesn’t turn the taximeter on, he will be fired. So, why should I have paid them? After that conversation, I met problems with the tax inspection,” Mikalai Autukhovich said.

According to Autukhovich, he told a local KGB officer about abuse of power by the tax inspection, but the latter said the case wouldn’t be opened. Then Autukhovich informed Mikhail Kazlou, an officer of the Hrodna militia, about the situation.

Interrogation of Mikalai Autukhovich went on in the second half of the day.

We remind that trial started in the Supreme Court on March 10. The proceedings have been taking place every day since March 16. Mikalai Autukhovich, Uladzimir Asipenka, and Alyaksandr Laryn face the supreme penalty – life imprisonment, or capital punishment. Among the three accused, only Alyaksandr Laryn admits partial guilt.