Senior executive of Russian company Novatek arrested in US for tax evasion

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The chief financial officer and vice-chairman of the board of directors of Russian gas producer Novatek has been arrested in the United States for tax evasion, according to the United States Department of Justice. noted in a statement Thursday.

A federal grand jury indicted Mark Gyetvay for hiding assets that were at one time worth as much as $ 93 million in offshore accounts between 2005 and 2016.

Gyetvay allegedly took steps to conceal his ownership and control over foreign accounts and associated assets, for example by walking away and making his then wife, a Russian citizen, the beneficial owner of the accounts,», Indicates the press release.

In a statement shared by the RBC news website on Friday, Novatek said she had not been made aware of Gyetvay’s arrest and said the criminal case “does not and will affect not the activities of the company “.

The Kremlin said in a daily briefing with reporters on Friday that it was concerned about Gyetvay’s fate as a senior Novatek executive, but could not intervene in the case due to his US citizenship. .

Gyetvay, a certified accountant who moved in Moscow in 1995, is also accused of failing to declare and pay income taxes in Russia. The United States is among the few countries that require citizens to file taxes on their overseas income even if they reside outside the United States during this time.

Gyetvay, 62, faces up to 20 years in prison for wire fraud, 5 years for tax evasion and misrepresentation, as well as 3 years for failing to file tax returns if convicted.

The Justice Department said Gyetvay was scheduled to appear in Florida district court Thursday.

Novatek, where Gyetvay has been CFO since 2003 and vice chairman of the board since 2010, is Russia’s second-largest gas producer and its largest liquefied natural gas producer.

The biggest shareholders of Novatek are billionaires Leonid Mikhelson and Gennady Timchenko, both of whom have ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Putin allowed Gyetvay became Russian in 2019 after the veteran executive complained that US and EU sanctions for Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 would hamper his ability to raise new long-term funding for Novatek.

The US-funded Radio Free Europe / Radio Free Liberty (RFE / RL) news organization compared Gyetvay’s tax evasion case to that of online banking mogul Oleg Tinkov, who was accused of concealing $ 1 billion in assets after receiving a US passport.

Tinkov installed with the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) earlier this week.

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