Leu Marholin: West won’t agree on disclosing bank accounts of Belarusians due to Minsk’s reputation
14.07.2016 |Society| EuroBelarus Information Service,
"I think that the story with Ales Bialiatski’s persecution has taught European countries to be more careful with Belarusian initiatives in such matters", - says economist and politician Leu Marholin.
Let us recall that Belarus intends to join the international agreement that allows those countries, who signed it, automatically exchange information on foreign bank accounts of their citizens, the First Deputy Taxes and Duties Minister Ihar Klepcha informed on July 8 in Minsk. According to him, the Ministry reveals more and more facts of illegal movement of capital abroad or of Belarusian citizens receiving income in foreign countries.
"Obviously, the government is now looking for money anywhere it can be found, - Leu Marholin said in the interview with the EuroBelarus Information Service. - Many Belarusians visit neighboring Poland and Lithuania; it is clear that many set up accounts there which, at least, can be taxed."
However, the economist believes that intention voiced by Ihar Klepcha to join the international agreement that allows countries, who signed it automatically exchange information on foreign bank accounts of their citizens, does not mean that the Belarusian tax authorities will get this information. "I am not very much inclined to believe that the Western partners - even after signing such agreements - will automatically provide all the information to Belarus. Our country has certain reputation, the image of the unfree and undemocratic state. I think that everyone in Europe remembers what happened a few years ago with Ales Bialiatski - and they have learned this lesson,"- said Leu Marholin.
Let us recall that the head of the human rights center "Viasna" Ales Bialiatski was arrested on August 4, 2011 and later sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison with confiscation of property for "concealment of income on a large scale." Upon the official Minsk request the Lithuanian Ministry of Justice provided information about Lithuanian bank accounts of HRC "Viasna". The Belarusian tax authorities have considered all sums to be personal income of human rights activists and accused them of tax evasion.
"Of course, if it would be million-dollar accounts of some businessmen, this information would most likely be provided, but I don’t think there are a lot of Belarusians with such turnover. Such people can be found among Lukashenka’s entourage,"- said Marholin.
The economist notes that Belarusians really have a lot of accounts in Europe: "take, for example, EHU students – they need these accounts for their studies – but we are clearly talking about very little money here." "What we see is just another attempt of the authorities to get at least some money by any means", - Leu Marholin said.
"Meanwhile, the situation in the country is really bad – both with cash and non-cash money, - the economist said. - Recently the information about the foreign economic activity in the second quarter was released, and it’s still declining. So there is nothing to be proud of, and no change for the better is to come. Although Prime Minister Semashko is a great optimist: according to him, we have already passed the peak of the crisis and now will only go up. Well ... His and other ministers’ position requires to be optimistic."