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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

TNK-BP: Tax Claims Total $2Bln

July 11, 2006 - The Moscow Times - TNK-BP on Monday declined to confirm a Vedomosti report that back tax claims against the oil major amounted to $2.33 billion. "The total back tax claims add up to 53 billion rubles," said company spokeswoman Marina Dracheva. The sum, according to the current Central Bank rate, equates to $1.97 billion. The disputed amount is the sum of back tax claims against TNK-BP and its subsidiaries for 2001-03, with the most recent back tax claims against the oil major and its subsidiary Sidanko for 2002 and 2003 brought in December 2005 and February 2006. The company has previously admitted to receiving these tax bills. Most claims are being disputed by TNK-BP. It was not immediately clear whether the discrepancy in the figures quoted by Dracheva and Vedomosti was due to fluctuations in the ruble-dollar exchange rate or because new tax claims had been presented to the company. Vedomosti on Monday cited an investment prospectus of TNK-BP International, the parent company of TNK-BP, and the earnings report for 2005. In May, TNK-BP said it had made a provision in its budget for 35.1 billion rubles, or $1.3 billion at the current Central Bank rate, to be used for back taxes and penalty payments. According to Dracheva, the provision was made after both the company and its auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers agreed that the amount would be the most the company could face in penalties and taxes. Vedomosti said TNK-BP had set aside $1.5 billion for possible back tax payments as of Dec. 31, 2005.

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