Russian metals firms may face $1.4 bln in extra tax 'for screwing state' - RBC

MOSCOW, May 31 (Reuters) - Russian metals producers may face a demand to pay 100 billion roubles ($1.4 billion) in additional tax to the government for ‘screwing the state’, First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov said in an interview to Russia’s RBC TV.

President Vladimir Putin said in March that Russian exporters of metals and other big firms should invest more at home for the good of the country. He said the tax service would monitor their investment activity.

Belousov said that certain Russian metals producers turned in strong financial results for 2020. He did not name them.

“That is not a bad thing. And it is even not bad that they are paying dividends. The bad thing is that they all raised prices on the domestic market in line with growth in world prices,” Belousov said.

“We have calculated that... metals producers have screwed us, the state, the budget, in terms of state investments and the state defence order by about 100 billion roubles. This money, I think, should be returned to us in the form of tax,” he added.

Russian steel producers will increase tax payments two-fold to 200 billion roubles in the first half of 2021 due to strong global demand for their products, the association representing Russian steel producers said in a statement. ($1 = 73.2590 roubles) (Reporting by Darya Korsunskaya and Polina Devitt; editing by Andrew Osborn)