Argentina says oil company owes $8 mn in tax

Argentina says oil company owes $8 mn in taxBuenos Aires, Feb 16 - Argentina's Treasury has prohibited oil company YPF, controlled by Spain's Repsol-YPF, from making any imports or exports until it pays an $8 million tax debt, officials said Wednesday. The AFIP tax agency imposed the fine for unpaid debt related to a tax on gas-export rights, agency spokespersons said without providing further details.

The fine was levied amid rumours - which the Argentine government has neither confirmed nor denied - about plans to re-nationalize YPF.

The sanction was handed down after the Argentine company failed to pay the debt within a 10-day window, the AFIP spokespersons told the Telam state news agency.

A total of 300 exporters and importers will face fines for tax debts, although the amount owed by YPF is the "most substantial," they said.

In recent weeks, several officials in President Cristina Fernandez's administration have said the Argentine company must invest more domestically.

Last week, Repsol CEO Antonio Brufau held a "constructive and positive" meeting with Economy Minister Hernan Lorenzino and Planning Minister Julio de Vido in which he informed them of YPF's investment plans, a source close to the gathering told EFE.

Brufau's arrival in Argentina coincided with a government announcement concerning the slashing of incentives for oil and natural gas production by $460 million. (IANS)

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