Novatek's Gyetvay charged with US tax evasion (Update)
(Adds comment from Novatek)
The deputy chairman of Russian independent gas producer Novatek and its former CFO, Mark Gyetvay, has been charged with tax evasion in the US, the Department of Justice (DoJ) said September 23.
The Florida businessman allegedly failed to disclose "substantial offshore assets" received from the Russian independent producer and LNG exporter and to report substantial income on his tax returns. He was due to appear before a Florida court that day.
If convicted on all counts his sentence could run for decades.
The allegations date back to 2005. He allegedly hid his ownership and control over substantial offshore assets and failed to file and pay taxes on millions of dollars of income until 2016.
After working as a certified public accountant (CPA) in the US and Russia, Gyetvay "allegedly became the chief financial officer of a large Russian gas company. As part of his compensation package, Gyetvay allegedly received lucrative stock options and/or stock-based compensation. Beginning in 2005, Gyetvay allegedly opened the first of two different Swiss bank accounts to hold these assets, which at one point had an aggregate value of over $93mn," the DoJ said.
"Over a period of several years, Gyetvay allegedly took steps to conceal his ownership and control over the foreign accounts and associated assets, such as removing himself and making his then-wife, a Russian citizen, the beneficial owner of the accounts. Despite being a CPA, Gyetvay also allegedly did not timely file his US tax returns, nor did he file all of the required Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) forms certain US taxpayers are required to file annually that disclose their control over assets maintained in foreign bank accounts.
"Further, some of the tax returns he did file are allegedly false. The indictment also alleges that Gyetvay submitted a false offshore compliance filing with the IRS through the Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures in which he attested that his prior failure to file FBARs and tax returns was non-wilful," DoJ said.
Novatek said in an emailed statement it had not received any official requests or any other documents from authorities of the US or any other countries regarding Gyetvay. The company said it would follow the details of the case but that the situation has not had and will not have any effect on Novatek's activities.