The New Zealand Herald: Shell's office closed for 48 hours in tax dispute: “Venezuela's tax authority has closed a Royal Dutch Shell office for 48 hours and put a hold on some company assets as part of a US$131 million ($188 million) back tax dispute with the oil company.”: Saturday 13 August 2005
CARACAS: Venezuela's tax authority has closed a Royal Dutch Shell office for 48 hours and put a hold on some company assets as part of a US$131 million ($188 million) back tax dispute with the oil company.
Shell is appealing against a claim by the Seniat tax authority for taxes it says the Anglo-Dutch firm did not pay during the 2001 to 2004 period.
The investigation is part of a wider probe of foreign oil companies in the world's No 5 crude exporter.
Seniat said it had forbidden Shell from selling or exporting US$131 million worth of goods and equipment the agency has earmarked as collateral in the dispute.
The amount is equivalent to the value of the back tax claim.
Shell will still be allowed to use the equipment during the appeal.
Shell's offices in Lake Maracaibo, one of Venezuela's most important oil producing regions, were also shut for two days.
"Shell Venezuela expects a minimum impact on its production operations," the company said.
The tax agency is investigating Shell and 21 other oil companies that hold operating contracts in the Opec nation.
Italian company ENI and US independent producer Harvest Natural Resources have also received tax demands.
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