The Supreme Court of Estonia has thrown out an appeal on a fraud conviction related to fuel trading.
The highest court of the land dealt with the appeal from a group of five individuals: Vladimir Vasiliev, Jekaterina Mihhailova, Anton Saluhhin, Jelena Aktaseva and Oleg Belokrolov, who were appealing a decision by the Estonian Tax and Customs Board (MTA) which had demanded damages from them jointly and severally amounting to €26 million.
The group had made use of two companies, OÜ INV T and OÜ Adrian Arendus to commit a large-scale VAT scam in which the Estonian state was defrauded of €30.2 million in taxes due to it, via fictitious fuel sale transactions later used to acquire precious metals and other metals.
Oleg Belokrolov, who headed a group of nine accomplices in connection with the two companies got a five year and four months' prison sentence, with a five year probation for tax evasion and the establishment of a criminal organization.
Belokrolov himself had paid a reported €1.05 million in damages into the state coffers prior to the trial in addition to an apartment, two cars with three registered parking places (in the name of a third party) to a total value of €485,000 being seized by the state together with €573,731 in cash from his bank accounts.
Then-Director of the MTA Marek Helm said at the time of the original trial in 2014 that the chances of retrieving the rest of the back taxes from Belokrolov were slim, but that the two companies were the first port of call for recovering the money owed, before turning to the individual parties in question.
Editor: Andrew Whyte