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Uzbek Officials Say Deal To Help British Mining Group


http://gdb.rferl.org/dc60c656-a7bf-4419-a30e-50d09c363f66_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/dc60c656-a7bf-4419-a30e-50d09c363f66_mw800_mh600.jpg (RFE/RL) December 5, 2006 -- Uzbek officials say a decision by the U.K.'s Oxus Gold to sell part of its Amantaytau Gold Fields (AGF) joint venture to a Swiss-registered company with alleged government ties may help the British group sort out its troubles with regional tax authorities.

Uzbekistan's state-controlled media today quoted government officials as saying authorities "are ready to help solve [Oxus Gold's] tax problems within the framework of the existing legislation."

An Uzbek court in October ordered AGF, a 50-50 joint venture between Oxus Gold and the Uzbek government, to pay $224 million in tax arrears.

The British company on November 30 said it had agreed to sell 16 percent of its share in AGF to Zeromax GmbH, a Zug-registered subsidiary of the U.S.-based Zeromax Group.

Zeromax is owned by a Tashkent businessman, Miradil Jalalov, with suspected connections with President Islam Karimov's entourage.

Uzbekistan in August stripped Oxus Gold of its license to develop an ore deposit in southeastern Surkhandariya region.

(vesti.uz, uzmetronom.net, oxusgold.co.uk)
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