Tax Authority Wins Ruling Against ENI for US$46mn

A Caracas tribunal ruled in favor of an embargo on 99.5bn bolivares (US$46.3mn) of assets of Italian oil major ENI (NYSE: ENI) requested by Venezuela's Seniat tax authority, Seniat said in a statement Friday.

The ruling affects the ENI Dacion BV subsidiary that is about to enter into a partnership with state oil firm PDVSA and is related to a tax claim. Seniat requested the measure because it felt the local subsidiary did not have enough financial backing from headquarters to cover the claim, the statement said.

The original claim presented to ENI Dacion last year was for 49bn bolivares but the figure increased after penalties and interest were added.

Last week Seniat closed ENI Dacion's main offices in Venezuela for 48 hours, arguing that it had not filed their bills and invoices properly.

ENI officials in Caracas declined to comment. ENI has diverse interests in Venezuela: it operates the Dacion field, where it has agreed to enter into a PDVSA-dominated joint venture; it is a major partner in the Super Octanos JV to manufacture premium-gasoline components with state petrochemicals firm Pequiven; and has two other subsidiaries operating in the country, Lasmo and Snamprogetti.

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