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Yukos forced to pay $3bn tax bill

Date Class
29th Jun 2004 Other Issue
A Moscow court has ruled that Russian oil giant Yukos will have to pay almost 100bn roubles ($3.4bn: 1.9bn) in back taxes to the Russian authorities.

Yukos has previously said it would be forced into bankruptcy if it was forced to pay the bill immediately.

Regulators say Yukos misused onshore tax havens but Yukos says the tax arrangements it used were legal.

Earlier this month, President Vladimir Putin said the authorities did not wish to see the embattled oil giant go bust.

The company had earlier said it was hoping for an out-of-court settlement with the tax service.

But Elena Alexandrova, who represents the ministry at the hearing told Reuters news agency that her team had "no intention of an amicable agreement".

The company's former head, tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, is presently in prison facing charges of tax evasion and fraud.

It is not yet clear whether tax officials will demand Yukos make the back payment immediately, a move which could bankrupt the company which presently has its assets frozen.

Mr Khodorkovsky's arrest last October spread ripples of alarm through Russia's business community.

The case against Yukos has been seen as a government-inspired move to punish Mr Khodorkovsky for funding opposition political parties.

Yukos shares lost 3% on news of the ruling but then regained value.




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