The court’s decision
In the first round of the case, all three court instances took the side of the final buyer of the goods, ruling that the customs authority’s demands were unjustified and unlawful.
However, the Supreme Court of Russia concluded that there were grounds to uphold the customs authority’s claims and referred the case for reconsideration.
In the second round, the three court instances declared the customs authority’s claims to be lawful and justified based on the following arguments:
- Customs charges and penalties may be collected from payers and persons bearing joint and several liability with payers or out of the goods on which customs charges have not been paid or have not been paid in full [part 1 of Article 73 of Federal Law No. 289-FZ]
- Goods may be seized towards payment of customs charges, including when the goods are owned by a person other than the declarant [part 8 of Article 79 of Federal Law No. 289-FZ]
However, the respondent (final buyer) still has time to file a cassation appeal with the Supreme Court.