8 Sep 2010 13:49

Audit Chamber plans to inquire into BashTEK privatization

UFA. Sept 8 (Interfax) - Russia's Audit Chamber plans to inquire into the privatization of the collection of Bashkortostan fuel and energy assets known together as BashTEK, Chamber chief Sergei Stepashin said during a Wednesday meeting in Ufa devoted to issues involved in making the use of budget monies more effective.

"Over the course of an extended period the former leadership of Bashkortostan allowed significant deviations from federal law and numerous financial violations to occur," Stepashin said.

A previous Audit Chamber check "turned up serious understatement of the tax liability at Bashneft and the petrochemical complex, which led to the actual loss of control over the main state oil company in the internal republic," he said.

"Alas, Bashkortostan has in fact lost its property. You know who sold it, how and for how much. The Audit Chamber will diagnose who, what and how much was paid and where the property went," Stepashin said.

"Evidently, the time has come for a new comprehensive check of not only the budget, but all financial and economic activity, including effective use of the republic's property. The Audit Chamber has set itself that goal," he said, adding that primarily this concerned BashTEK.

The Audit Chamber will also look into the forest products business. "Bashkirs don't own the forest either," he said.

In answer to a question from journalists after the meeting, Stepashin said: "Naturally, there is not going to be an reapportionment of property. If there were legal violations, that issue will be forwarded to the law enforcement bodies. Another issue is the capitalization of property, where taxes were underpaid, where the republic suffered losses. Unfortunately, many of Bashkortostan's assets, including the petroleum sector, forest products, fertilizer, are now in the hands of others."