BP wins its tax fight in Russia

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Beleaguered BP’s Russian operation had its first good news for months Wednesday after an arbitration court in Moscow upheld a lower court’s ruling to refund £190 million ($371 million) in overpaid taxes.

TNK-BP paid the money as value added tax in 2006 and was legally permitted a refund because of its status as an exporter, exempt from the 18% VAT level. The victory comes as the country’s third-largest oil producer half owned by BP, is facing increased pressure from state authorities, who analysts say are trying to help a state-controlled firm buy a major stake in it.

In March, British Petroleum was dealt a blow when Moscow said it was sending its chief environmental hitman to probe the biggest field operated by BP’s Russian oil venture. Oleg Mitvol effectively forced Royal Dutch Shell to sell up to Russian firm Gazprom two years ago and he may now force BP out of the area. (Thisismoney, UK)

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