The President’s Office said the amendments had been drafted in light of the legal gaps that were highlighted by the Labour Party’s bookkeeping fraud trial that lasted a decade.
“The president suggests punishing large-scale tax fraud as a grave crime. The legal amendments suggest envisaging that persons evading more than 19,000 euros in taxes or operating in an organized group should be subjected to the same liability as for fraud, i.e., up to eight years in prison,” reads the press release.
The Labour Party’s founder Viktor Uspaskich and other suspects were last year fined for bookkeeping fraud. A number of courts overruled prosecutors’ pleas to put Uspaskich behind bars.
Presidential adviser Rasa Svetikaitė told BNS that tax evasion is currently listed as a minor offense, which leads to smaller penalties, shorter statutes of limitation and limits the possibilities of applying means of criminal intelligence.
The president suggests differentiating liability for tax evasion, depending on the sum in taxes a suspect aimed to evade. Evading up to 19,000 euros in taxes would mean up to four years in prison, while evading over 19,000 euros in taxes would mean that a person may face imprisonment of up to eight years. Currently, the maximum jail term is three years.