ArcelorMittal Faces $1Bln in Taxes

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- ArcelorMittal, the world's biggest steelmaker, is planning to appeal a court ruling in Kazakhstan that would force its local division to pay 132.4 billion tenge ($1.1 billion) in back taxes and fines.

"We do not see any justification for this ruling and intend to appeal the decision," Nicola Davidson, a spokeswoman for the Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal, said in an e-mailed response on Monday.

A special interregional economic court on Feb. 1 upheld the state tax committee's bill for the years 2002 through 2005, said Shokan Araunov, a judge in the case.

The amount consists of 131.7 billion tenge in taxes and 695 million tenge in fines, Araunov said by telephone on Monday from Karaganda, about 200 kilometers southeast of Astana, where the court is based.

ArcelorMittal Temirtau, the local unit, has 15 days from Feb. 1 to appeal, Araunov said.