Source Pravda.Ru

Yukos did not ask Finance Ministry about debt repayments

YUKOS, a Russian oil company, did not ask the Finance Ministry to allow it to repay its tax debts in installments, Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Shatalov said.

"The government is not considering any official appeals from YUKOS but as far as I know, there have not been any," Mr. Shatalov said. "I do not know about any official proposals from YUKOS regarding a resolution of the situation."

He noted that there were two possible solutions: an installment payment plan or debt restructuring.

"Theoretically, these opportunities exist," he said. "But in this case, the company should initiate any actions." Mr. Shatalov explained that currently the financial bodies that receive taxes make decisions on granting installment payments for taxes, however from the beginning of August that function will be transferred to the level of the Federal Tax Service.

He said that the Finance Ministry could make a decision about the company's federal debt, but on the part of the debt that should be paid to regional budgets, the corresponding financial bodies make the decision. Therefore, the structure of the debts should be precisely determined first, he stressed.

According to Mr. Shatalov, for the Finance Ministry to consider installment payments of the federal government's part of the debt, it needed to receive and analyze an official application from YUKOS and "many documents.

An installment plan can only be granted within the limits set by the law on the budget. For this purpose there need to be relevant amendments to the law on the budget, which "is difficult, especially considering that the State Duma is going on leave," the deputy minister noted.

In regard to the second possibility, restructuring the debt, Mr. Shatalov said that earlier the practice was widely applied, but "it had ended three years ago." To make this procedure legitimate, the government should adopt a corresponding resolution, he added.

The deputy minister refused to comment on whether the adoption of such a resolution was likely. "On one hand," he said, "the company is serious, but on the other, the practice [of restructuring debt] had been exhausted."

The principle shareholders hope for an affirmative answer to former YUKOS head Mikhail Khodorkovsky's offer, a source close to the company told RIA Novosti.

According to a source, several days ago Mr. Khodorkovsky sent the prime minister and the presidential administration an offer to relinquish shares to the state to repay the tax complaint.

"I think that this decision [transfer of shares] was very difficult for the shareholders and says that they were concerned about the future of the company," the source said. "The offer is very serious and I think, interesting."

The source noted that the letter should reach the addressees, however "they said that they have not received anything. I hope that the offer will be received."

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