ARBITRATION COURT CUTS YUKOS TAX ARREARS

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MOSCOW, November 17 (RIA Novosti) - The Moscow Arbitration Court is running with the hare and hunting with the hounds. It partly met a Yukos lawsuit against the Federal Taxation Service, though confirming legal grounds for the latter's claim.

The court cut the petroleum mammoth's fiscal arrears for 2001 from 119.9 billion roubles to 115.4 billion, and reduced fines and penalties for the same year from 79.4 billion roubles to 76.2 billion (today's Central Bank rate is R28.66/US$1).

The Service appointed its total claim at 119.9 billion roubles, September 2-of that, 50.7 billion back taxes, 28.7 billion fine and 40.6 billion penalty. A separate demand came four days later for another 79.4 billion-50.7 billion fiscal arrears plus 28.7 billion fines to be removed from corporate accounts on unconditional acceptance.

The Service filed a suit with the Moscow Arbitration Court to collect the fines, which it did, October 11, though reducing the claim by 1.5 billion roubles. The court of appeal confirmed the verdict, November 16.

The Yukos initially appealed against the September 6 claim alone, later on to dispute the September 2 claim as well.

Today's verdict reduces the VAT claim by 1.86 billion roubles, fines by 1.2 billion, and penalties by 1.5 billion.

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