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    Novatek's Gyetvay to fight US tax case

Summary

The Russian company's deputy chairman says the charges are baseless in a Tweet.

by: William Powell

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Novatek's Gyetvay to fight US tax case

Novatek deputy CEO Mark Gyetvay said he would contest the US tax charges brought against him September 23 in a Tweet at the weekend. He was charged with concealing some $93mn from the US authorities but released on bail for almost that sum: $80mn.

If found guilty, the dual Russian-US passport-holder faces 20 years in gaol. He said however that the charges were baseless as he had already settled claims through a voluntary programme and so he had pleaded 'not guity'. He would fight the charges vigorously and continue to discuss gas topics as normal, he said.

Novatek is building a series of liquefaction plants in Russia's far north and has attracted financing from a number of major overseas companies and institutions. Yamal LNG is fully financed but not the successor plant, Arctic LNG-2. The Russian government is heavily involved in the success of the projects and gave assistance to Yamal LNG. The new export route will allow Moscow to project its influence in Asia as well as the western hemisphere through the Northern Sea Route.

If not nominally the CFO after 2014 in the wake of US sanctions, Gyetvay was the official spokesman for the company and a frequent speaker at energy conferences. His name also appeared on the quarterly financial statements, but as deputy chairman of the board. The company website also says that he has won awards as one of the top five CFOs from Institutional Investor and Finance Monthly until as recently as 2019.

But since February 2016, the website says, Viktor Belyakov has been the deputy chairman of the board for economics and finance.