The giant Russian oil company YUKOS is not alone in facing huge bills for back taxes from the authorities. A whole raft of private and state owned companies have also received demands. The government-run power-grid monopoly, Unified Energy Systems, is the latest.It has just revealed in its quarterly accounts that it has been presented with a back tax claim of 104 million euros for the year 2001. UES said that following a major tax audit last year it has been fighting the authorities in the courts, but has twice lost. It is continuing to lodge appeals. Moscow’s state-owned Sheremetyevo International Airport has also reportedly been handed an eight million euro bill. It is challenging that in the courts and for the moment has managed to block seizure of its assets. The claims are coming despite Russia’s President Putin ordering the tax authorities to “leave business alone.” In a recent speech he said officials have no right to “terrorise” companies. But some analysts believe the tax collectors are just trying to demonstrate that YUKOS was not the only target and these claims are likely to be negotiated down with no seizure of assets.
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