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Ukrainian TV Station Loses Court Case Over Back Taxes

Ukrainian journalists and TVi supporters protest against media censorship in front of the National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council in Kyiv on September 12.
Ukraine's TVi television channel, one of the country's few remaining independent media outlets, has lost its court battle over charges of overdue taxes.

The hearing was convened after tax authorities appealed an earlier lower-court ruling that TVi had won.

The lawsuit against TVi has sparked opposition accusations that President Viktor Yanukovych is seeking to crack down on critical reporting ahead of parliamentary elections on October 28.

The TVi's embattled director, Mykola Knyazhytskyy, insists that his company had not been paying its taxes in full because it had reached a deal with tax authorities under which it was offered temporary exemption in place of a tax refund on equipment purchased when the channel was founded four years ago.

Ukraine's State Tax Service claims the company and its director owe $375,000 in back taxes.

Based on reporting by UNIAN and RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service