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Kazakhs accuse Eni, Parker Drilling of tax evasion

Kazakhstan accused Eni, one of the companies developing the huge Kashagan oilfield in the Caspian Sea, and US oil services firm Parker Drilling of tax evasion.

Kashagan, Kazakhstan's largest oil field, was at the centre of a dispute between the government and foreign oil majors over the timeframe and its costs of development. The row ended last year after Kazakhstan increased its stake in the project. Kazakhstan's financial crimes police said on Wednesday they were now investigating Eni, Kashagan's sole operator before last year's agreement, and Parker Drilling on suspicion of tax offences. “A criminal case is being investigated ... against the Netherlands' Agip Kazakhstan North Caspian B.V. (an Eni subsidiary) and the US firm Parker Drilling Company International,” Murat Zhumanbayev, a spokesman for Kazakhstan's financial crimes police, told reporters. He said the companies had evaded taxes for more than 10 billion tenge ($66 million). A spokesman for Eni in Kazakhstan declined to comment on the matter. Parker Drilling, which has been involved in a tax dispute with Kazakhstan for several years and has denied any wrongdoing, could not be reached for comment. (Reuters)