SECOND SECTION

DECISION

Application no. 27818/04 
by Per KORVA 
against Sweden

The European Court of Human Rights (Second Section), sitting on 9 May 2006 as a Chamber composed of:

Mr J.-P. Costa, President
 Mr A.B. Baka
 Mr I. Cabral Barreto
 Mrs A. Mularoni
 Mrs E. Fura-Sandström
 Ms D. Jočienė, 
 Mr D. Popović, judges,

and  Mrs S. Dollé, Section Registrar.

Having regard to the above application lodged on 28 July 2004,

Having regard to the decision to apply Article 29 § 3 of the Convention and examine the admissibility and merits of the case together.

Having regard to the formal declarations accepting a friendly settlement of the case.

Having deliberated, decides as follows:

THE FACTS

The applicant, Mr Per Korva, is a Swedish national who was born in 1945 and lives in Haparanda. He is represented before the Court by Mr R. Armholt, a lawyer practising in Stockholm.

The respondent Government are represented by their Agent Ms A. Linder of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.

On 19 December 1995 the Tax Authority (skattemyndigheten) of the County of Norrbotten decided to increase the applicant’s income from business for the tax assessment year 1994 by 1,155,224 Swedish kronor (SEK), and to impose tax surcharges amounting to 40% of the increased tax liability. The Tax Authority had carried out an audit of the applicant’s business and had found that its accounts were so defective, formally and materially, that they could not be used to form the basis for the Tax Authority’s audit. Thus, it had been obliged to carry out a discretionary assessment (skönstaxering) of his business transactions and had concluded that his income from business should be increased. As concerned the tax surcharges, it found that the applicant had submitted incorrect information concerning his business in his tax return and that no grounds for remission had been shown.

On 10 January 1996 the applicant appealed against the decision, disputing the Tax Authority’s findings and the imposition of the tax surcharges. The case was examined at various levels of jurisdiction, ending with the reduction of the amounts assessed and imposed, but the rejection of the applicant’s ultimate request for leave to appeal by the Supreme Administrative Court (Regeringsrätten) on 4 February 2004.

COMPLAINTS

The applicant originally complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention that the length of the proceedings was excessive. He also claimed that the time which had elapsed between the oral hearing before the Administrative Court of Appeal and the delivery of its judgment was too long. Invoking Article 6 § 2, he further alleged that the presumption of innocence had been violated in the instant case as tax surcharges had been imposed on him automatically as a result of the Tax Authority’s discretionary tax assessment.

THE LAW

On 9 February 2006 the Court received the following declaration from the Swedish Government, signed by the Agent of the Government on 1 February 2006 and by the applicant’s representative on 3 February 2006:

“On 28 July 2004, Mr Per Korva (“the applicant”) lodged application no. 27818/04 against Sweden with the European Court of Human Rights (“the Court”). The application was communicated to the Swedish Government (“the Government”) on 14 November 2005.

The Government and the applicant have now reached the following friendly settlement on the basis of respect for human rights, as defined in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, in order to terminate the proceedings before the Court.

a)      The Government will pay, ex gratia, the sum of SEK 80,000 (eighty thousand)1 to the applicant. The amount will be paid to his counsel, Mr Roland Armholt, who has been authorized by the applicant to receive payment on his behalf. Execution of the payment will take place when the Government has received the Court’s decision striking the case out of its list of cases.

b)      The applicant declares that he has no further claims on the Swedish State based on the facts of the above application.

This settlement is dependent upon the formal approval of the Government at a Cabinet meeting.”

The settlement was approved by the Swedish Government on 16 February 2006.

The Court takes note of the friendly settlement reached between the parties. It is satisfied that the settlement is based on respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and its Protocols and finds no public policy reasons to justify a continued examination of the application (Article 37 § 1 in fine of the Convention). Accordingly, Article 29 § 3 of the Convention should no longer apply to the case and it should be struck out of the list.

For these reasons, the Court unanimously

Decides to strike the application out of its list of cases.

S. Dollé J.-P. Costa 
 Registrar President

1 Around EUR 8,550


KORVA v. SWEDEN DECISION


KORVA v. SWEDEN DECISION