24 Sep 2021 09:19

Novatek CFO Gyetvay arrested in U.S. on tax evasion charges

MOSCOW. Sept 24 (Interfax) - The U.S. authorities have charged Novatek CFO Mark Gyetvay with failing to disclose his assets in order to avoid paying taxes.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Gyetvay has been arrested and faces lengthy terms of up to 20 years in prison under the most severe charge. Tax authorities believe that from 2005 to 2016, Gyetvay allegedly concealed his ownership over offshore assets in order not to pay taxes. According to the indictment, Gyetvay's Swiss bank accounts where he kept this money concealed from the U.S. authorities had an aggregate value of over $93 million at one point. He allegedly took steps, among other measures, to conceal his ownership over these assets by making his then-wife, a Russian citizen, the beneficial owner of the accounts.

The case opened against Gyetvay has been assigned to U.S. District Judge John Badalamenti in Florida, according to the report.

U.S. prosecutors, for their part, have requested $80-million bail for Gyetvay, according to a motion posted on the electronic database of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

Besides, as conditions for Gyetvay's possible release from custody, the prosecutors demanded the presence of two vouchers and the possibility to monitor his whereabouts with the help of an electronic tag.

In addition to U.S. citizenship, Gyetvay is also a citizen of Russia, with which the U.S. has no extradition treaty, the prosecutors said.

He is also a citizen of Italy, they said.

Court hearings into Gyetvay's case will continue on September 24.

Interfax has so far been unable to obtain comments from Novatek.

Novatek CFO Gyetvay, who was born in the U.S., received Russian citizenship in July 2019. A decree to this effect was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The U.S. imposed financial sanctions on Novatek in 2014. As a result, Gyetvay had to stop taking part in the company's financial deals and in negotiations on signing them. Gyetvay makes speeches at public events, presenting Novatek's financial reports to the investment community and unveiling the company's projects, consistently asserting Russia's reputation.