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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 January 2006, 19:20 GMT
Yukos hit with new $4bn tax bill
Yukos office
Yukos came under investigation by Russian tax officials in 2003
Stricken Russian oil company Yukos has been hit with a new claim for unpaid taxes and fines totalling 107bn rubles ($3.79bn; £2.15bn).

Formerly Russia's largest oil group, Yukos has been bought to its knees in recent years after the Kremlin ordered it to pay back taxes totalling $28bn.

That was to cover the years 2000 to 2003, while the new demand is for 2004.

Russian authorities say Yukos used illegal loopholes to avoid tax, while the firm says it has been victimised.

'Renationalise'

Yukos and its supporters say the firm was simply punished for the pro-Western political ambition of its founder and former boss Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Mr Khodorkovsky, who was also Russia's richest man, is serving an eight-year sentence for tax evasion and fraud.

Last week Yukos said it had paid off all but $6.3bn of the original $28bn bill, including by losing its main production unit Yuganskneftegaz in a forced auction.

Yuganskneftegaz was eventually bought in December 2004 by state-owned Russian firm Rosneft, prompting accusations that the Kremlin simply wished to renationalise key parts of the economy.


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