Moscow (Dec. 11)
Two hundred Jewish ex-nepmen were put on trial in Odessa today for failure to pay the heavy taxes levied on them when they were engaged in trading. The accused maintain that they are unable to pay the taxes as they have been completely ruined. They also claim that they had not traded for very long.
Most of these on trial were great merchants during the period when private trading was permitted but are now mostly declassed Jews. They owe taxes of between fifteen and fifty thousand rubles each. At present none of them own more than personal and household effects which cannot be confiscated for failure to pay taxes.
The court is to determine which of the accused are to be released as being unable to pay and which are to be considered as deliberate tax-shirkers. Those found guilty of the latter charge face a stiff prison term. At today’s session of the trial the state attorney spent considerable time in seeking to establish where the accused obtained the means for livelihood since private trading was abolished several years ago.