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Business Observer Tuesday, Sep. 28, 2021 3 weeks ago

Area businessman faces offshore tax evasion charges

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Mark Anthony Gyetvay calls the charges “baseless.”

FORT MYERS — A federal grand jury in Fort Myers recently indicted the CFO of a Russian gas company, Mark Anthony Gyetvay, who lists his home in Naples on social media, in a tax evasion case related to $93 million in offshore accounts. Gyetvay, through social media, has denied the charges.

Gyetvay, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice, allegedly concealed “his ownership and control over substantial offshore assets and (failed) to file and pay taxes on millions of dollars of income.” He’s charged with defrauding the United States by not disclosing his substantial offshore assets, failing to report substantial income on his tax returns, failing to pay millions of dollars of taxes and submitting a false offshore compliance filing with the IRS in an attempt to avoid substantial penalties and criminal prosecution.

Three days after the indictment was released to the public, through the IRS — Criminal Investigation field office in Tampa, a Sept. 25 tweet from an account with Gyetvay’s name pushed back on the accusations. “Dear friends and colleagues. On Thursday I was indicted for baseless tax charges that I already settled through a voluntary program, and pleaded not guilty,” the tweet stated. “I will vigorously fight these charges and will continue to discuss gas topics as normal.”(An IRS spokesperson, in a Sept. 28 email to the Business Observer, declined to comment on the tweet, citing the ongoing investigation.) 

The indictment alleges that from 2005 to 2016, Gyetvay, a CPA, received lucrative stock options and/or stock-based compensation in his role with a Russian gas company. According to his LinkedIn profile, Gyetvay is CFO of PAO Novatek, the second-largest oil and gas company in Russia. Starting in 2005, Gyetvay, officials contend, opened the first of two Swiss bank accounts to hold the assets, “which at one point had an aggregate value of over $93 million.”

Mark Anthony Gyetvay, from his LinkedIn profile.

“Over a period of several years, Gyetvay allegedly took steps to conceal his ownership and control over the foreign accounts and associated assets, such as removing himself and making his then-wife, a Russian citizen, the beneficial owner of the accounts,” the release states. “Despite being a CPA, Gyetvay also allegedly did not timely file his U.S. tax returns, nor did he file all of the required Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBARs) forms certain U.S. taxpayers are required to file annually that disclose their control over assets maintained in foreign bank accounts. Further, some of the tax returns he did file are allegedly false.”

The indictment further alleges Gyetvay submitted a false offshore compliance filing with the IRS through the Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures Procedures in which he attested that his prior failure to file FBARs and tax returns was non-willful.

Gyetvay, according to his LinkedIn profile, worked in the audit department of oil company Hess, in New Jersey, from 1988 to 1994. He then spent nine years as an audit partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Moscow, in its Global Energy, Mining and Utilities unit, before joining PAO Novatek in 2005. He was a member of the board, and chairman of PAO Novatek investment and strategy committee for eight years, the profile states.  

If convicted, Gyetvay, according to the statement from the Justice Department, faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for each wire fraud count; five years in prison for each failure to file FBAR count; five years in prison for tax evasion; five years in prison for making a false statement; three years in prison for each count of assisting in the preparation of a false tax return; and one year in prison for each willful failure to file a tax return count.

 

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