Sun, 28 May 2023

An Instagrammer with more than four million subscribers allegedly cooked the books to hide the size of her coaching business

A well-known Russian Instagram blogger, who teaches others how to become popular online, is under investigation for allegedly failing to pay $1.55 million in taxes. She previously pledged to discharge her debt to the state and blamed bad legal advice for her troubles.

A criminal probe into the financial affairs of Aleksandra Mitroshina was announced by the Russian Investigative Committee on Tuesday. The agency claims the influencer used a simplified tax scheme intended for small business owners between October 2020 and May 2022.

However, her social media coaching enterprise was far too big to qualify for the scheme, and Mitroshina used bookkeeping tricks to conceal this fact, according to investigators. They estimate that she owes $1.55 million in taxes for the period.

The announcement of the investigation has not come as a complete surprise, as Mitroshina herself revealed last June that the Russian tax authorities suspected her of evasion. She denied the allegation. At that time, she pledged to pay her dues and advised people not to neglect paperwork, and to seek a second opinion rather than relying on the guidance of a single tax lawyer.

Mitroshina has yet to comment on this week's development. According to her social media accounts, she has been residing in Dubai since last year.

She was reportedly among the early Instagram users in Russia, having set up her account in 2011. She has since attracted more than 4.2 million followers, which she monetized by teaching people how to become successful online. Her courses reportedly cost between $500 and $6,450. She styles herself as the "mother of blog" online - a play on the words "mother of God."

The 28-year-old, who studied journalism and creative media, mostly focuses on lifestyle and fitness in her content, although she occasionally delves into social and political commentary. In 2019, she joined a national online campaign against domestic violence.


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