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Ukraine authorities accused tycoon Kurchenko’s VETEK of massive tax evasion

March 06, 2014, 20:14 UTC+3 KIEV

In the searches, 13,000 tonnes of oil products, financial accounting documents and computer equipment were confiscated

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KIEV, March 06. /ITAR-TASS/. Ukrainian authorities accused VETEK Group controlled by Ukrainian business tycoon Sergey Kurchenko of massive tax evasion to the tune of seven billion hryvnias ($769 million), Arsen Avakov who was appointed as interior minister by Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, said in a statement posted in social network Facebook on Thursday.

“In the investigation the Interior Ministry has exposed a criminal scheme of delivering to Ukraine and selling oil products by VETEK Group (belonging to business tycoon Sergey Kurchenko),” Avakov said in the statement. He also noted that a criminal case was opened in Kiev over damages worth 1.6 billion hryvnas (176 million dollars) that Ukrainian state-run joint stock company Naftogaz sustained from VETEK Group.

Avakov noted that in 2012-2013 VETEK had delivered to Ukraine oil products worth 25 billion hryvnias ($2.8 billion) for their reprocessing as give-and-take raw materials and further re-exports to foreign countries. “Actually produce was sold on the territory of the country without customs clearing and paying taxes and duty fees that resulted in loss of around seven billion hryvnas from the budget,” Avakov added.

“To cover their criminal activity several fly-by-night enterprises were set up and sold oil products to legal fuel wholesale suppliers on false documents without paying taxes,” the statement reads. Upon results of investigation eleven criminal cases were opened in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Kiev, Kharkov, Odessa, Cherkassy, Kirovograd, Khmelnitsky, Lugansk and Rovno regions and in Kiev.

In the searches, 13,000 tonnes of oil products, financial accounting documents and computer equipment were confiscated. An inspection is underway for oil product residue at Odessa oil refinery, the statement runs.

Ukrainian oligarch Sergey Kurchenko dismisses all accusations from the European Union in crimes related with embezzlement of state funds and their illegal withdrawal from Ukraine, Itar-Tass reported earlier. “I am surprised that I was put on the list of people against whom the EU had imposed restrictive measures. But I am even more surprised by the wording, “A person subject to investigation for involvement in crimes that are related with embezzlement of state funds and their illegal withdrawal from Ukraine.” I am an honest Ukrainian businessman who has always invested in Ukraine and almost my business is concentrated here. Law enforcement agencies have conducted numerous inspections against the group of companies belonging to me and no serious violations were found,” the VETEK press service quoted Kurchenko as saying.

He also added that “the incident is a nonsense related with information campaign launched against me and the group of companies in media by my rivals concerned over VETEK’s vigorous growth.”

The East European Energy Company (VETEK) brings together Sergey Kurchenko’s energy assets. The company incorporates structures that sell liquefied gas, oil products, natural gas, a network of gas filling stations and automobile CNG filling stations and other specific assets in Ukraine and several other countries. The company pursues productive, trading and investment activity in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Central European countries.

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