MOSCOW, February 18 (RAPSI) – The Moscow Commercial Court has invalidated part of the decision adopted by Federal Tax Service’s Inspectorate No. 9 to collect an additional 1.2 million rubles ($34,188, or €24,938) in taxes on foreign investment from Golos, RAPSI reports from the court.

Golos, an association of non-profit organizations “In Defense of Voters’ Rights,” filed a suit to reverse the inspectorate’s decision to collect an additional 2.4 million rubles from USAID investments. The court ruled to grant half of the claim amount.

A Golos lawyer argued that Golos is a non-profit organization and that USAID’s investment was therefore a non-taxable donation.

A representative of the tax inspectorate responded that USAID had been banned in Russia and so its investments cannot be considered donations.

The Russian government ordered the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to cease operations in September 2012. It claimed that USAID used its grants to influence political processes in Russia, including the elections. Washington denied the accusation.

USAID is a federal government agency established by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 to implement development assistance programs in the areas authorized by the Congress. It operates in over 100 countries, including Russia, where its proclaimed goals were to support civil society, promote democracy and human rights, help fight tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, assist orphans and disabled people, and support Russian environmental protection and wildlife programs.

According to the State Department, USAID worked in Russia for two decades, spending around $2.7 billion on aid. About one-third of that sum was channeled into democratic programs.