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Yukos Says It Will Continue Its Policy Of Tax Optimisation

by Tatiana Smolenska, Tax-News.com, Moscow

07 November 2003


The Chief Financial Officer of the embattled Russian oil giant Yukos, Bruce Misamor, told reporters earlier this week that the company intends to continue with its former strategy of tax optimisation.

"No one is obliged to pay the maximum amount of taxes," said Mr Misamor. "Any corporation or citizen has the right to cut tax payments within the framework of Russian law."

He continued: "We still plan to optimise our tax deductions, and there is nothing shameful about that, if this is done within the framework of law. The company will effect its tax payment optimisation strategy in the interests of its shareholders and in this sense this is the duty of any company in any country of the world."

Meanwhile, Yukos executive director Steven Theede pointed out that there have been no challenges linked with tax payment defaults launched against the firm, adding: "These conjectures refer personally to Mikhail Khodorkovsky."

Yukos head Mikhail Khodorkovsky was arrested last weekend on charges of fraud, forgery and tax evasion, and the Russian authorities have subsequently frozen 44% of the shares in Yukos, saying that they need to be able to access the value of the shares if Khodorkovsky is convicted of crimes which could carry penalties of up to US$1bn.

Mr. Khodorkovsky has denied the allegations through his lawyer, saying the investigations are a blatant attempt to muzzle him in advance of elections this winter. On Monday this week he resigned as Chief Executive of Yukos, in a move which may serve the double purpose of protecting his company and freeing him to compete in Russian politics.


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