YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Minister of Internal Revenues Smbat Aivazian filed a claim last week against the Trans World Telecom and the Greek OTE companies. The claim was filed in connection with ArmenTel’s failure to pay about $18 million in income taxes–$10 million of which was assessed as fines.
The debt resulted from the sale of shares of the ArmenTel company in 1998. The Armenian government demanded that the TWT and OTE companies pay taxes–but the demand was ignored.
The ArmenTel company was a joint venture belonging to the Armenian government and the TWT company. Later the owners of the company sold their shares to the Greek OTE company.
The Los Angeles-based Manatt–Phelps & Phillips will provide counsel to the Armenian government during the legal proceedings. According to President of the firm Harold R. Racheworld–"these are quite ordinary legal proceedings concerning tax collection." He said that this step will promote further foreign investmen’s to this "developing country with excellent potential."