MOSCOW, March 9 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Interior Ministry is investigating a criminal tax evasion case involving 243 million rubles ($9.3 million) and PricewaterhouseCoopers, the auditor who represented the now bankrupt oil company Yukos in 2002-04.
PwC is facing its own profit tax claims for 2002, and at the same time is being checked on the Yukos audit case.
The Russian Federal Tax Service filed suit against PwC in December 2006, accusing the auditor of covering up Yukos's illegal financial schemes and of drawing up two different audit reports.
The tax service is seeking to invalidate Yukos-PwC contracts for 2002-2004 and charge PwC $480,000. Tax authorities said Yukos failed to correct violations discovered in 2002 for a further two years.
"The company continued to illegally transfer money to the Production Development Financial Support Fund in 2003-04. And the company failed to mention its non-profit bond operations in its financial reports," the tax service said.
Tax officials also said that, despite the violations, PwC confirmed that Yukos's financial operations in 2003-04 were in full compliance with Russian legislation.
In 2005, another auditor, Horwath, refused to approve the oil company's financial report, the tax authorities said, adding that it was further evidence of PwC's involvement in Yukos's gray operations.
PwC denies the tax authorities' allegations, saying company management, not an auditor, is responsible for financial decisions.
PwC also said its report on Yukos contained an amendment highlighting the irregularities, which PwC also included in a written statement recommending that the company review its operations.