Gazprom will have to pay the bill

The state is now going to deal with the Russian gas giant Gazprom. It has been officially announced today that Gazprom has not paid its debts to various budgets in the sum of tens of billions of rubles. Criminal proceedings are likely to be instituted at the end of March if the information of the latest investigation of the fiscal police concerning Gazprom is confirmed. This was stated by Viktor Vasiliev, the chief of Moscow’s federal fiscal service.

It turns out that the gas companies sell gas at the prices that are lower than market prices, unreasonably reducing the sales income. The cost of gas, which was left for the need of the compressor stations, is not included in the taxable base and so on and so forth.

As a matter of fact, one was expecting this to happen. A lot has been said about the opacity of Russia's largest gas monopoly, about its unregulated cash flow. This state of things does not go together with the present politics of the state, which is basically aimed at strengthening the vertical structure of the government. Furthermore, everybody remembers the recent grand scandal with the American company Enron.

Because of this situation, the Russian finance ministry decided to initiate the investigation. It is not ruled out that the first will be followed by others, and not only with Gazprom, but also with other giant Russian companies like RAO UES of Russia (United Energy System).

In the meantime, Gazprom initiated bankruptcy proceedings against the largest gas and petrochemical company of the country, Sibur (Gazprom is the largest shareholder of this company). The arbitration court of the city of Salekhard started the bankruptcy proceedings yesterday. The temporal control was set up over the activities of the company for drawing up the analysis of the financial condition of Sibur. The managers of Gazprom said that the procedure was started because of the outstanding debt to Gazprom from Sibur in the sum of 2.899 billion rubles. It was also claimed that “one should put an end to tearing the company into pieces.”

It maybe correct about the latter. However, as far as the debt issue is concerned, Gazprom cannot pay its debts to the state and to the local budgets with that mentioned money anyway.

Sergey Yugov PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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