YUKOS's key shareholder Platon Lebedev has been accused of avoiding tax payments, Irina Alyoshina, the deputy head of the department for investigating especially important crimes of the General Prosecutor's Office, declared at a news conference. She mentioned that in 1999 Lebedev ordered four firms affiliated with MENATEP to sign an agreement with the organization Lesnoy in the Sverdlovsk region in order to obtain tax benefits. As a result, these companies received 9bn rubles in tax benefits. Basic taxes were paid with YUKOS bills, which was prohibited by the Russian Tax Code. As a result, the state budget received nothing, she added.
As reported earlier, Lebedev was arrested on July 2, 2003. He is suspected of illegally acquiring a 20-percent stake worth $283.142m in the state company Apatit in 1994.