Updated at 18:53,10-09-2021

Widow of tut.by founder placed under house arrest


Julija Čarniaŭskaja, the widow of tut.by founder Juryj Zisier, has been placed under house arrest, according to the media organization that came under attack from the authorities earlier this week.

Ms. Čarniaŭskaja “is OK, she thanks everyone for support,” said the media outlet, adding that the 58-year-old woman was being “treated politely” by law enforcement officers.

The woman’s lawyer has reportedly been prohibited from disclosing any details of the investigation against her client.

Writing in a Facebook post on Thursday, Jaŭhienija, the daughter of Ms. Čarniaŭskaja and Mr. Zisier, said that her mother had been allowed to talk to her lawyer in private. “Mom has been on edge, she is constantly smoking, she is very nervous,” she wrote.

Citing her mother’s lawyer, Jaŭhienija said that she had asked “very naïve questions.” “She is a cultural studies scholar, philosopher, one can see at once that the person has little to do with accounting and business management,” she said.

The post indicated that law enforcement officers were staying in Ms. Čarniaŭskaja’s apartment.

Ms. Čarniaŭskaja’s whereabouts became unknown on May 18, the day when the State Control Committee’s Department for Financial Investigations raided the offices of tut.by and some companies linked to it, as well as the homes of some of their staff in the framework of what was described as a tax evasion inquiry.

On May 20, the woman’s lawyer was notified that her client was to be questioned, apparently as part of the investigation.

The State Control Committee (SCC) said in a May 18 statement that criminal proceedings had been instituted against executives with Tut.by Media, the company that owns tut.by, under Part Two of the Criminal Code’s Article 243, which penalizes felony tax evasion.

Tut.by Media was granted resident status by the High-Technology Park (HTP) in 2019, said the SCC. According to the agency, it used the tax breaks offered to all HTP residents despite engaging in activities that do not fall within the scope of the high-technology hub.

On May 18, the HTP Supervisory Board stripped Tut.by Media of the right to the tax breaks, said the statement.

“The unjustified use by TAA Tut.by Media of state support as a High-Technology Park resident has caused serious damage to the state,” said the SCC.

At least 12 people were arrested, including a number of tut.by journalists.

On the same day, the information ministry blocked access to tut.by at the request of the Prosecutor General’s Office.