Russia shocks BP with demand for $1bn in back tax from oil venture

BP’s flagship investment project in Russia suffered a major and unexpected setback yesterday after its joint venture TNK-BP disclosed it had received a back tax bill for almost one billion dollars. The claim, which refers to 2001, is likely to cast a pall over Russia’s precarious investment climate and came out of the blue. The firm, which is 50 per cent owned by BP and 50 per cent by a group of billionaire Russian investors, had initially been asked to pay just $145m. TNK-BP immediately said it would contest the new bill but sought to play its significance down insisting that it had arisen from a routine procedure.