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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Alekperov Unfazed by New Tax Claim

Russia's largest oil producer, LUKoil, expects the country's tax authorities to present it with back tax claims for 2002 to 2003 after they finish inspections this week, but the sums involved will be tolerable, its chief executive said.

Vedomosti quoted Vagit Alekperov on Monday as saying the company would not go to court to challenge the claims.

"It [the sum] will become fully clear after the checks are finished this week. But it won't be billions of dollars, or even hundreds of millions," he said.

LUKoil, created by Alekperov in the early days of Russia's controversial privatizations, was the first Russian firm to be presented with a big tax claim of over $100 million for its operations in Kazakhstan's offshore zone. But it quickly paid it without challenging the claim in courts.

Top rival Yukos was later presented with much bigger claims for a total of $27.5 billion. Since the Yukos affair, back tax claims have become the main source of worry for investors.

Alekperov also said his stake in LUKoil was around 13 percent, slightly bigger than the stake held by the U.S. major ConocoPhillips.

This puts his personal wealth at around $4.4 billion, based on LUKoil's market capitalization of $33.6 billion.

Alekperov, who several years ago revealed a personal stake of 11 percent, said he was constantly boosting it because he believed in his company's future. He also said he was confident Conoco would soon increase its stake to 20 percent but would not be able to boost it further.

Alekperov said he planned to transfer his stake to his son in the future.

He also called on the government to cut taxation in the industry to encourage investment and said the state should scrap fuel oil export duties to prompt oil firms to cap a boom in local gasoline prices, thus avoiding public discontent.