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TVi Channel repays tax debts, asks philanthropists to donate more money

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Sept. 26, 2012, 3:28 p.m. | Business — by Interfax-Ukraine

TVi support protest in Kyiv
© Alex Kuzmin

The TVi channel on Monday repaid Hr 4.98451 million to the State Tax Service, the channel has reported in a posting on its Web site. 

According to its report, within ten days about 11,000 philanthropists transferred money to repay the debts.

"As of 1600 on September 24, we collected Hr 2.84524 million. Today we received money from that Batkivschyna United Opposition that Arseniy Yatseniuk promised to transfer on Friday. Hr 1.25321 million was paid to the tax service. More Hr 746,788 was left on the account as charitable aid," the text read.

At the same time the report said that the charitable fund of the TVi channel remains open, since the state didn't compensate Hr 6 million in VAT owed to the channel because of the multimillion losses it sustained after its disconnection from cable networks.

"Taking our channel off the cable networks caused us millions in extra losses. That's why our charity account is still open, and we'd appreciate your donations," the text read.

As reported, on September 17, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych asked members of the National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council of Ukraine to urgently deal with the situation around the TVi channel, the president's press service reported on Monday. To execute this order the council for two weeks planned to monitor the providers that rebroadcast TVi channel.

On July 12, 2012, reports said that a criminal case had been opened against TVi Director Mykola Kniazhytsky. The tax police accused him of failing to pay Hr 3 million in taxes to the budget. Kniazhytsky said that he had already won all of the trials on this case and that he had paid all taxes. The tax police started checking the channel's documents, although Head of the State Tax Service Oleksandr Klymenko signed an order in April 2012 declaring a moratorium on media checks before parliamentary elections.

On July 27 the prosecutor's office cancelled an instruction on the opening of the criminal case against Kniazhytsky. On August 1 the investigation department of the tax police of Kyiv shut a criminal case concerning Kniazhytsky.

In addition, on July 20, 2012, TVi Channel said that it had been disconnected from the cable networks of the Triolan trademark and that residents of 11 towns in Ukraine had been deprived of a chance to watch the channel. TVi linked this "with the pressure being placed on the channel."

The National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council refused to intervene in the settlement of the conflict, saying that the conflict between TVi and Triolan was commercial.

Journalists of the TVi channel said later that the cable operator Volia, without warning, had decided to move the channel starting this fall from the popular basic package of channels into the extended expensive package, which only one third of its subscribers use. The channel's staff said it believes that the pressure on TVi, which began at the start of the election campaign, is aimed at "destroying the last television channel that is not controlled by the authorities.

On September 12, Kniazhytsky said that the channel's foreign currency accounts had been arrested under a letter from the Economy Ministry. Next day, the Economic Development and Trade Ministry cancelled this sanction. 

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