Deloitte accused of tax evasion

Russia has accused Deloitte and Touche, the international accounting and consulting giant, of tax evasion and has opened a criminal investigation into the matter.

Deloitte and Touche CIS, the regional office of the worldwide giant in Russia, was accused of evading “large sums” of taxes, the Russian Interior Ministry said on its Moscow website.

“Managers of Deloitte and Touche CIS and a Cyprus company Deloitte and Touche Regional Consulting Services Ltd created a scheme to include unjustified costs into accounts, which led to a concealment of revenues and large sums of tax evasion,” the ministry said.

The case appeared to be the first time Russian authorities have targeted a Western firm in their campaign against tax evasion ahead of the March 14 presidential election, expected to be swept by incumbent Vladimir Putin.

The Russian Yukos oil giant has been the object of most inquiries, with the tax ministry accusing it on December 30 of underpaying more than $US3 billion ($4 billion) in taxes for the year 2000 alone by misusing domestic offshore zones.

Yukos has been under fire in what is widely seen in Russia as a politically motivated case.

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