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Tax Ministry Claims Additional $3.4 Billion From Yukos

President Putin has said the state doesn't want to bankrupt Yukos (file photo) 1 July 2004 -- Russia's tax ministry is claiming another $3.4 billion from the oil giant Yukos in back taxes, in addition to an existing tax bill for the same amount.

Interfax news agency, quoting ministry officials, said today that the Tax Ministry has issued the new demand for tax arrears for the year 2001.

The company already has been ordered to pay $3.4 billion in back taxes from 2000 and has warned that this amount alone could force it into bankruptcy.

Court bailiffs delivered papers to Yukos today, giving the company five days to comply voluntarily or face seizure of its assets.

"They [bailiffs] delivered a warrant dated June 30 on the execution of the court's ruling," Yukos spokesman Aleksandr Shadrin said today in Moscow. "This warrant says, in particular, that to ensure that the court's decision of 26 May is executed and comes into legal force, it is prescribed that company comply voluntarily with this decision within five days."

Yukos has said a court order forbidding it from selling its assets prevents it from raising the money.

The price of Yukos stock fell 12 percent today on fears the company could fall into state hands.