Romania court rejects appeal by Lukoil manager in fraud case

AP News
Posted: Aug 05, 2015 7:11 AM

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — A Romanian court has rejected an appeal by the general manager and six executives of a subsidiary of Russian oil company Lukoil who have been indicted on tax evasion and money laundering charges.

The Court of Appeal in Ploiesti dismissed the appeal made by general manager Andrey Bogdanov, a Russian citizen, and six Romanian and Russian managers at the Petrotel Lukoil refinery against their indictment. The decision was published Wednesday.

Prosecutors, who are investigating 39 companies as being vehicles for money laundering and tax evasion worth 1.77 billion euros ($1.95 billion), said Monday the managers allegedly misused the company's credit and capital.

Petrotel Lukoil's press department couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Prosecutors said in an indictment that the refinery's managers had exported oil at sub-market prices, mainly to Lukoil companies abroad, causing losses of 410 million lei (euros 93 million, $102 million ) from 2011 to 2014 . It said the company reported losses in Romania from 2010 to 2014 and the state granted it a delay in paying sales tax from 2011 to 2014.

Last month, prosecutors froze Lukoil's assets and bank accounts worth about 2 billion euros ($2.22 billion). Lukoil at the time denied allegations of wrongdoing.

Petrotel processes 2.4 million tons of crude per year and is the biggest Russian company in Romania, where Lukoil has been operating since 1998. It is owned by Lukoil Europe Holdings BV, based in the Netherlands.