MOSCOW COURT OF ARBITRATION NOT TO POSTPONE TAX ACTION AGAINST YUKOS

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MOSCOW, September 24 (RIA Novosti) - The Moscow Court of Arbitration declined Friday YUKOS' appeal to postpone hearings over the tax ministry's action on retrieving from the company 20.6 billion roubles ($1 equals 29.21 roubles) worth of tax penalty for the year 2001.

As preliminary hearings were underway today, ministry envoys claimed that tax services have revealed the company's use of tax-evasion schemes. YUKOS set up a network of 19 companies on the territory of soft-tax regions, alleged the ministry's envoy. Of them, tax-dodging was practiced by eight companies, registered in Mordovia (six), Kazakhstan's town of Baikonur (one) and Eastern Siberia's Evenk autonomous district (one).

It was reported earlier that, on September 2, the tax ministry charged YUKOS with additional 119.9 billion roubles worth of tax debt for the year 2001. Of this sum, 50.7 billion roubles worth of the basic debt and 28.7 billion roubles worth of penalties are to be direct debited.

Penalties are retrieved through courts of arbitration, according to tax legislation. Under the decision of the Moscow court of arbitration, YUKOS is now paying off 99.342 billion roubles in the tax debt for the year 2000. Besides, the tax ministry is now busy with its additional investigation into YUKOS activities for the year 2002.

On March 9, 2004, the tax ministry was transformed into the federal tax service.

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