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Tax disputes should be resolved in court, not through sanctions

Deputy Chairman of the Ukrainian Gambling Council for communications Viktoriia Zakrevska commented on the introduction of sanctions by the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine (NSDC) against PARIMATCH LLC and POKERMATCH.UA LLC.

The expert expressed her opinion in the online publication.

On 10 March, sanctions were introduced against 120 individuals and 287 legal entities. Two members of our Association, namely PARIMATCH LLC and POKERMATCH.UA LLC were included in the list of sanctioned companies.

On 12 March, PARIMATCH LLC announced the suspension of its activities due to sanctions imposed by the NSDC. Currently, the company's official website is blocked, customers' funds are frozen on personal accounts, and the company is looking for a legal mechanism to return them.

Appearance of Parimatch on the sanctions list was quite an unexpected situation for the market, which is quite difficult to assess, because authorities had not no public complaints regarding its operation until now. In addition to that, the company's position regarding comprehensive support of the state's actions against the aggressor remains unchanged from the very beginning of the full-scale invasion of Russian troops into Ukraine: Parimatch withdrew from Russia and Belarus, revoked its franchise and completely revoked permission to use trademarks for goods and services, domain names and any other proprietary branded products.

At the same time, starting from 24 February 2022, PARIMATCH LLC, the owner of the PM brand, began to systematically help the Armed Forces of Ukraine, territorial defence forces and financially support national and regional social and humanitarian projects, having allocated more than 500 million hryvnias for these purposes in a year.

As the head of the Ukrainian Gambling Council, the industry-specific association of representatives of the legal gambling market, Anton Kuchukhidze rightly noted in his statement regarding sanctions against Parimatch that in situations where companies have some tax discrepancies, the authorities should use all available capabilities of the fiscal service or the judicial system, rather than immediately taking the harshest measures. In this way, it is easier to prevent possible mistakes of individual law enforcement agencies than to correct them later.

"I believe that the inclusion of the members of our Association, namely PARIMATCH LLC and POKERMATCH.UA LLC in the sanction list is a mistake, and not a planned attack by law enforcement agencies against individual Ukrainian companies and against all legal gambling business in our country. I hope that the security and law enforcement agencies will pay attention to the information that will be given to them for consideration and will change their positions," Anton Kuchukhidze said.

At the same time, law enforcement officers should primarily focus on countering the work of illegal businesses and Russian brands instead of Ukrainian ones, which work in Ukraine for the needs of Ukrainian consumers and pay taxes to the state and local budgets.

In general, the legalization of the gambling business is a rather complicated and lengthy process, which is still resisted by the underground businesses that become accustomed to the possibility of resolving their issues through corrupt officials during the years of the banning of legal activities.

Therefore, I hope that the mistake made by the law enforcement and fiscal authorities regarding the work of the largest legal gambling organizer in our country will be corrected soon.


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