Almost all members of the staff of Turan Information Agency were summoned for
to the Tax Ministry’s department for tax crimes in Baku on 28 August. They were questioned as part of criminal proceedings launched against the news agency on charges of tax evasion.
Tax officials also visited the news agency closer to the evening of 28 August to collect documents related to the news agency’s operations in the past few years.
On 16 August, representatives of the Tax Ministry’s department for preliminary investigation of tax crimes had conducted a search in Turan’s office to seize financial documents for the period 2014-16 and a number of other documents and the account’s computer.
The department went on to decide to extend the period that the investigation into the news agency’s activities was to cover. The criminal investigation will now cover not the years from 2014 to 2016, but the period from 1 October 2010 to 1 August 2017. They department provided no explanation as to why it extended the period the investigation would cover.
In the afternoon of 24 August, the director of Turan was summoned for questioning to the investigations department of the Tax Ministry.
Later that evening, Mehman Aliyev was taken from the investigations department of the Tax Ministry to Baku’s Yasamal district police department.
Mehman Aliyev had said before he was arrested: “In reality, all these steps are directed against Turan in order to shut down the news agency or paralyze its operation.”
Turan news agency published a statement on its website on 25 August that said that the news agency was terminating its operations.
Mehman Aliyev rejects all charges brought against him.