Thursday, February 28, 2008
Police raid Slavneft HQ in tax probe
21 February 2008 - Upstream OnLine - Police raided the headquarters of Russian producer Slavneft today, confiscating documents as part of a five-year-old tax evasion investigation, a company official said. Slavneft is a 50/50 venture between gas export monopoly Gazprom's oil arm Gazprom Neft and TNK-BP - itself a venture between BP and a group of Russian billionaire shareholders. Gazprom became a shareholder of mid-sized Slavneft in 2005 when it bought Sibneft, later renamed Gazprom Neft, from billionaire Roman Abramovich. That means any tax claim, if confirmed by a court, would have no recourse on Gazprom, but only on TNK-BP and Sibneft's former owners, a Reuters report said. A Slavneft spokesman told the news agency the tax evasion investigation related to allegations that a trading company registered in Kalmykia and later bought by Slavneft, had neglected to pay tax. "We undergo regular international standards audits and are regularly checked by tax authorities. Previous audits and checks have produced no claims for the period of 2003-2007," the spokesman told Reuters.