Venezuela's Tax Authority: Only Eni, Open Have Paid Nothing

Of the 20 or so oil companies whose 2001-2004 tax payments were rejected by Venezuela's tax authority Seniat, only Italy's Eni (NYSE: E) and local firm Open have not paid anything, tax authority officials told BNamericas, confirming local media reports.

Seniat says Open owes it 2.5bn bolivares (US$1.16mn) and Eni some 140bn bolivares. At the heart of the conflict is Seniat's argument that oil companies have been using the wrong tax rate of 34% instead of 50%.

Seniat won a court order against Eni from a Caracas judge that can be used to seize both physical assets and bank accounts, according to the tax authority.

Until March 30 the companies concerned had paid some US$74mn to Seniat but that figure has increased of late. US major Chevron (NYSE: CVX) alone has paid 108bn bolivares thus far, while France's Total (NYSE: TOT) has paid Seniat 110bn bolivares.

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