Court orders MG Baltic owner to pay EUR 2 mln in taxes

Darius Mockus

Darius Mockus, president and the sole shareholder of the MG Baltic business group, has been ordered by a Vilnius court to pay the state almost 2 million euros in taxes for the shares in Minvista, an investment company, he and his wife sold several years ago.

Vilnius Regional Administrative Court on Wednesday rejected the Mockus' appeal in a dispute with the State Tax Inspectorate, the court's spokeswoman Sigita Jacinevičienė-Baltaduonė told BNS Lithuania.

In her words, the court believes Mockus and his wife wanted to evade taxes by abusing the rights provided for by law.

The dispute is related to a transaction, carried out on the last day of 2013, when Darius Mockus and his wife Ina sold their shares in Minvista to MG Baltic. The shares were sold on the last day of the year when a personal income tax credit stating that securities bought before 1999 and sold until that day are non-taxable, was still in place.

"The changing legal regulation canceling the tax credit determined the execution of the disputed transaction before the tax credit ended. (…) The court believes that, if normal business needs were satisfied, such a scheme related to the disputed transaction and financial operations would have not been carried out, if the legislation had not changed. It confirms that the claimants sought to evade taxes, in fact abusing their rights provided for by the then legal regulation," the court ruled.

The court does not disclose the amount of taxes involved but Inga Žemkauskienė, representing Mockus, said earlier it would not exceed 2 million euros.

The lawyer told BNS Lithuania on Wednesday her clients plan to lodge an appeal with the Lithuanian Supreme Administrative Court.

Mockus sold almost 35 percent of his shares in Minvista to MG Baltic on Dec. 31, 2013. The business group's representatives then said it was done to "simplify management and ensure efficiency". Market participants, however, also suspected it was done for tax-related reasons.

The MG Baltic is also charged in a political corruption case in Lithuania, with its former vice president Raimondas Kurlianskis being among the defendants.

Source: BNS
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