Blogger Valeria Chekalina (Lerchek) and her husband Artem Chekalin are being interrogated at the Main Investigative Committee of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for Moscow.
According to Izvestia, they are being checked for involvement in other economic crimes.
Earlier that day, it became known that a new criminal case was opened against the Chekalins for money laundering. According to the investigation, they legalized more than 130 million rubles obtained by criminal means.
According to Izvestia, Chekalin will be subject to a preventive measure not related to arrest. It may be a prohibition of certain actions.
On March 7, it became known that a criminal case had been initiated against Chekalina due to non-payment of taxes for more than 300 million rubles. Searches began in the home of the blogger’s family, as well as in the places of residence of other participants in the criminal scheme. Valeria and her husband Artem were under house arrest.
According to the investigation, Chekalina, as an individual entrepreneur, used a simplified taxation system, which is applied for incomes up to 150 million rubles a year. However, according to investigators, the real income that she received from running fitness marathons was much higher.
In order not to switch to the general tax payment regime, Lerchek arranged for the receipt of income from her activities to settlement accounts opened through individual entrepreneurs and owned by her relatives – her husband, relatives and friends. Thus, the fragmentation of the business helped her to evade taxes in the amount of more than 300 million rubles.
Chekalina was charged under Part 2 of Art. 198 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“Tax evasion by an individual by failure to submit a tax return, committed on an especially large scale”), and her husband Artem – under part 5 of Art. 33, part 2 of Art. 198 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“Aiding tax evasion by an individual”).
On March 8, blogger Chekalina (Lerchek) pleaded guilty to tax evasion and promised to pay the debt. Her husband also expressed his desire and willingness to make amends.
Valeria Chekalina is a Russian blogger and trainer. Since 2018, she has been running her fitness blog on Instagram (owned by the Meta corporation, which is recognized as extremist and banned in the Russian Federation), where the audience has exceeded 10 million people. After blocking the social network in March 2022, Chekalina opened the Telegram channel “Lerchek is now here”, more than 1 million people subscribed to it.
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