Gazprom Armenia counter-attacks Pashinyan team

Gazprom Armenia counter-attacks Pashinyan team

The accusations of Armenia's State Revenue Committee of tax evasion have threatened Gazprom Armenia’s planned signing of an important agreement with a Russian bank, CEO of Gazprom Armenia national gas distribution company Hrant Tadevosyan said. 

The CEO said that the distributor was negotiating a soft $150 million loan with a Russian bank to repay its old loans provided at higher interest rate  He argued also that the agreement would allow the company to reduce its expenses by $2.4 million a year.

According to Tadevosyan, the accusations are not justified, since the data of the winter and summer periods, as well as the difference between the growth of gas consumption and the company's expenses were compared.

"Technically, there is no way to compare the winter and summer data. These are elementary laws of physics," ARKA cited the CEO as saying.

Tadevosyan said unlike large companies, gas meters of individual consumers do not adjust the temperature and gas pressure, while the price is calculated for a 20 degree Celsius temperature.

“In fact, households receive more gas in winter, but pay less. But we have no right to raise the price. Therefore, we write off this extra gas as a loss. That is why in winter we have more losses than in summer. Accordingly, it is not correct to compare summer and winter figures," he said.

Armenia’s State Revenue Committee (SRC) said on November 14 that it has launched a criminal investigation into the finances of the Gazprom Armenia, a subsidiary of the Russian state gas company, Gazprom, after revealing a string of tax evasions worth several billion drams. 

According to the SRC, in 2016 and 2017 Gazprom Armenia reported false data in its value-added tax and profit tax calculations, having paid several billions drams of taxes less. The SRC said also the data about the volumes of natural gas provided to natural gas filling stations also prove the fraud.

Gazprom Armenia is one the largest corporate taxpayers in Armenia. In the first 9 months of 2018, the company paid 30.3 billion drams in taxes, down from 32.2 billion drams, paid a year earlier and was second in the list of the 100 largest taxpayers.

Under a 2016 Armenian- Russia agreement, Russian Gazprom sells one thousand cubic meters of gas to its Armenian subsidiary Gazprom Armenia at $150. Gazprom Armenia that owns and runs the country’s natural gas distribution network, sells it to households at about $300 per one thousand cubic meters. 

Armenia’s Minister of Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources Garegin Baghramyan said earlier this month that government searched for options to have the price of Russian natural gas cut.

He said a prime minister-set up task force headed by the vice-premier was looking into how the price of natural gas is formed. He said the chance to achieve this goal would be more evident when the study is over and when expectations, forecasts at the exchange rate of USD were available.

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