Armenian Government Claims Victory Over OTE

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–The lawsuit involving the Armenian government and Greece’s OTE–the owner of 90 percent of shares of Armentel–the sole phone operator in Armenia–has ended with the Armenian government’s victory.

According to the court’s ruling–the TWT company–that had previously owned 49 percent of Armentel’s shares–must pay OTE $4 million which the latter must transfer to the Armenia’s budget as income tax generated as a result of the deal when Armentel was bought by the OTE.

The Armenia’s justice ministry told Armenpress that in 1999 the Armenian government made claims to the OTE and TWT companies demanding that they pay around $8 million dollars income tax–generated as a result of the deal between the OTE and TWT. The TWT refused to pay claiming that it had no tax liabilities towards the Armenian government after selling its shares to OTE.

In February 1999–the TWT launched a lawsuit against the Armenian government in London International Trade Court in attempt to prove that the whole tax burden of the deal was OTE’s liability.

However–the Armenian government was consistent in defending its right to receive the taxes and that the TWT’s position was nothing but an attempt to avoid tax liability.

As justice minister David Harutunian said –the verdict of the intermediary court confirming the decision that had been taken previously by the first instance court is of great importance for Armenia. "All complaints against the Armenian government were dismissed by the intermediary court," he said adding that according to the court’s verdict–both the OTE and TWT must may the income tax. "It is also very important that the government will receive $4 million immediately instead of waiting for the end of the year," he added.

The OTE has already paid the Armenian government $3.25 million and has to pay another $5 million within the current year.


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