Measures of the State Tax Administration of Ukraine (STAU) on removal of gambling equipment are disputable – attorney’s view
Interfax-Ukraine, Kiev, 16 July
Provided that the law on prohibition of gambling industry has no
description of clear mechanism controlling its observance, it allows us
to dispute the actions of the tax service of Ukraine on removal of
gambling machines and militia raids with inspection of gambling houses,
in accordance with the effective legislation.
Such an opinion was expressed to the agency “Interfax-Ukraine” by Lesya
Kovtun, an attorney of Volkov Koziakov and Partners Law Firm.
As reported, the tax service of Ukraine has withdrawn 2 300 gambling machines within the period of June-July 2009.
“With respect to removal of gambling equipment, I would like to remind
of the constitutional principle of inviolability of property right that
implies untouchability of its objects, except for the cases of its
removal on the basis of court decision made according to the
established juridical procedure”, she stated.
The expert explained that the Law of Ukraine “On the state tax service”
entitles the tax militia with the right to solely keep track of
compliance with the tax legislation, which has nothing to do with
prohibition of gambling industry. At the same time, the internal
affairs bodies under the Law “On militia” are entitled to freely access
any premises of enterprises solely to prevent illegal actions.
Considering the above mentioned, removal of gambling equipment can be
carried out only on the basis of prescribed court decision under the
claim of tax service for a party of gambling industry with imposition
of sanctions and property confiscation. Such actions are unlawful on
the stage of an ordinary inspection. It is still expected that the tax
service will follow the rules of economic procedure for collection of
proofs justifying these claims, as specified in the law on prohibition
of gambling industry, commented Lesya Kovtun.
She assumes that with respect to that, some clarifications can be
provided by STAU regarding the measures controlling observance of this
Otherwise, the STAU raids can be followed by a number of claims for
compensation of losses resulting from the illegal activities of the
state officials, concluded L. Kovtun.
As reported, the tax authorities of Ukraine recorded 155 facts of
unlawful gambling activities in June-July 2009, having withdrawn 2 300
gambling machines and other equipment amounting to UAH 30.2 mln.
It was previously informed by the STAU press-service that the tax
officials had commenced the large-scale operation with regard to
gambling industry starting from the effective date of the law on its
prohibition: about 500 mobile teams had been formed around Ukraine to
carry out the operation during the daytime and at night, with
involvement of 1.500 employees of tax militia.
It was also noted by the press-service that after the law on gambling
industry prohibition has been put into effect 25 records of crimes were
submitted to the internal affairs authorities for commencement of
criminal cases under the article on engagement in prohibited types of
The law on prohibition of gambling industry in Ukraine came into effect
on 25 June and in case of its violation implies paying penalties in the
amount of 8 thousand minimal salaries with confiscation of gambling
equipment, and the revenues collected from gambling are subject to
transfer into state budget.