Interfax – Russia & CIS Energy Newswire
December 5, 2018 Wednesday 1:33 PM MSK
Tax claims against Gazprom Armenia not confirmed yet – Russian trade representative
YEREVAN. Dec 5
Claims that CJSC Gazprom Armenia has committed financial violations and evaded taxes in especially large quantities have so far not been substantiated, Russian trade representative in Armenia Andrei Babko said at a press conference on Wednesday, adding that any actions in this regard must take place in the legal arena.
"We welcome anticorruption measures, but everything must be in a legal framework," Babko said commenting on the claims made by Armenia's State Revenue Committee.
"If there is a crime, conduct an investigation, go to court. Only after a court ruling can guilt be spoken of. There is the presumption of innocence. When it is done the other way around, this scares everybody. It changes the social orientation and the investment climate," Babko said.
The State Revenue Committee said that Gazprom Armenia filed inaccurate income tax and VAT data in 2016 and 2017, resulting in "a reduction in tax payments to the state budget by several billion drams."
A criminal case into evasion of taxes, duties or other mandatory payments (Art. 205 of the Criminal Code) has been opened.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said earlier that he did not rule out corruption risks in the arrangement for supplying Russian gas to consumers in Armenia.
Gazprom Armenia said talks on receipt of a major loan were in jeopardy due to the State Revenue Committee claims.
Gazprom Armenia General Director Grant Tadevosyan said at a press conference in mid-November that the Committee's statement on instances of the company's nonpayment of taxes were invalid because its specialists made calculations comparing operations in summer months with those in winter months.