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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Omsk, Angarsk Oil Refineries Seized For Owners' Tax Debts

In one of the toughest measures yet in a crackdown on corporate tax evaders, the Russian government Monday ordered the seizure and sale of two oil refineries to pay off their huge tax debts.

The action strikes at the pockets of two of Russia's wealthiest and most politically powerful business tycoons.

A special government commission on boosting tax revenues ran through the roster of the biggest debtors Monday, moving to bankrupt the worst offenders and ordering others to pay their arrears quickly.

The commission, chaired by First Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais, ordered the sale of assets of refineries owned by two oil companies: Sibneft and Sidanko.

Electricity giant Unified Energy Systems was ordered to pay off 543 billion rubles ($90.5 million) in tax arrears by the end of the month and will face a tightening of state control over its finances.

Chubais' commission targeted the Omsk Oil Refinery, a Sibneft subsidiary, and the Angarsk Petrochemical Co., a unit of Sidanko.

Omsk owes 525.8 billion rubles in back taxes, while Angarsk's debt is 766 billion rubles, according to Interfax.

Sibneft is controlled by Boris Berezovsky, a financier and Chubais rival.

Sidanko is owned by Uneximbank, one of Russia's most powerful financial groups.

It is headed by Vladimir Potanin, a strong supporter of Chubais.