The Federal Tax Service has begun to appropriate the property of three major oil companies for nonpayment of taxes. This includes a freeze on their bank accounts. The companies are Sidanko, Onako and Eastern Oil, and their numerous subsidiaries. Announcing the move yesterday, Vladimir Popov of the Tax Service said that last month, Sidanko paid 2.2 million of the 1.2 billion rubles it owes in taxes. Onako owes 846 million rubles while Eastern Oil owes 314 million. In all, Popov said, Russia’s oil companies paid less than one-third of the taxes they owed in July. He said bankruptcy procedures will be started against Onako and that Sidanko and Eastern Oil will face the same prospect unless they come up quickly with the money they owe.
The Tax Service has complaints about nonpayment by two other companies: Rosneft, the state-owned company for which the government is currently seeking a buyer, and Slavneft, which was issued a warning this week by the Tax Service. Popov said he expects a storm to break next week when, he predicted, the oil companies will besiege the government with complaints about the Tax Service.
Meanwhile, in a further punishment for unpaid taxes, the Fuel and Energy Ministry has ordered Sidanko and Onako to cut back their oil exports by one-third. (Itar-Tass, ORT, August 6)
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