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    SIBNEFT'S AFFILIATE IS ACCUSED OF OWING $420 MILLION IN UNPAID TAXES

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    MOSCOW, March 4, 2004 (RIA Novosti) - The Tax Ministry has said Sibneft's affiliate, Sibneft-Noyabrskneftegaz company, owes $420 million in back taxes, a ministry source told RIA Novosti.

    "We have received an audit report and believe the Tax Ministry's claims against Sibneft and its affiliated company are unsubstantiated, said Aleksei Firsov, the oil company's press secretary. Sibneft-Noyabrskneftegaz was inspected in 2000, and the inspection revealed no violations." Sibneft was inspected by the Audit Chamber for the period of time from 2000 to 2001 and no violations were revealed either, added Mr Firsov.

    The Tax Ministry accused Sibneft of owing some $700 million in taxes for 2000-2001, while initially the ministry said the company's tax debt had made $1 billion.

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