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Russian govt. questions additional taxes on Gazprom - Kremlin source


MOSCOW, June 9 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's government has refused to support an initiative from the finance minister to impose taxes on Gazprom's super profits, a Kremlin source said Friday.

The source said that energy giant Gazprom was a state owned company and it would be senseless to tax the company's profits and later return the funds to the company.

"They have decided that at present Gazprom, given its role and resources, needs the state's control and the state has the right to tell the company whenever necessary how to use resources effectively," the source said.

Finance Minister Alexey Kudrin said on June 7 that Gazprom could bring in unplanned revenues of up to 400 billion rubles (about $15 billion) in 2006 and the company's super profits should be taxed more heavily as the price of natural gas rises.

"His [Kudrin's] proposal has been rejected, but has certainly generated many ideas for everybody to consider," the Kremlin source said, adding that state-owned Gazprom could be a more effective investor in the energy or electric power industry than an unknown private investor.

Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov said Wednesday he agreed that "revenues should be managed effectively."

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