ArcelorMittal, the Luxembourg-based steel maker owned by Indian billionaire Lakshmi Mittal, said on Thursday that its Ukrainian bank accounts had been frozen in an escalation of a long-running tax dispute.
Ukraine authorities have alleged that its local unit, ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih, underpaid mining taxes between 2015 and 2019. The company denies any wrongdoing.
On Wednesday the Prosecutor General’s Office obtained an order from Shevchenkivsky district court in Kyiv to freeze the company’s bank accounts.
“This action is related to the way the company calculates tax payments for the use of subsoil for mining,” ArcelorMittal said in a statement.
“It is a matter which has been ongoing for some time and has previously been dealt with through the appropriate legal channels.”
On November 4, 2021, a district court dismissed a civil case against the company brought by the State Tax Administration, ruling that ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih has paid all appropriate taxes. The tax authorities have filed an appeal.
“There is no current tax related civil proceeding against ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih and therefore no legal grounds to freeze the company’s accounts,” ArcelorMittal said.
In 2019, ArcelorMittal was charged with violating environmental standards and promised to invest $1.8 billion over five years to reduce emissions by 50-55%.
Mittal travelled to Kyiv to meet Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Ukraine’s president, and said the upgrade would be complete by the end of 2023.
- George Russell, with Reuters