DUSHANBE, February 5, 2014, Asia-Plus -- The management of Tajik-Chinese joint venture, Zeravshan Gold Company (ZGC), say that they paid their tax debts last November.

“The tax inspection that was carried out in October-November 2013 revealed the tax debts of 3,950,469 somoni,” ZGC deputy director general Bobokhon Bobokhonov said, noting that all tax debts were paid last November.

“We do not know why the anticorruption agency officials say that they have instituted criminal proceedings,” said Bobokhonov.  “As far as the director general and chief financial officer of the company are concerned, they are currently on vacation in China.”

We will recall that the Agency for State Financial Control and Combating Corruption press center reported on February 3 that criminal proceedings have been instituted against Li Fen (phonetically spelled), director general of Tajik-Chinese joint venture Zeravshan Cold Company (ZGC), and Lyu Daoin (phonetically spelled), chief financial officer, ZGC.

According to the anticorruption agency, the Chinese nationals are charged with concealment of actual profits of the enterprise from 2010 to July 2012.  During this period, the enterprise reportedly underpaid 3.9504 million somoni in taxes.

ZGC was launched as a joint venture with Nelson Resources Ltd (44%) and the Tajikistan government (51%) and the IFC (5%) in 1994.  In September 2002, Avocet signed a heads of agreement to acquire the Tajik gold assets of Toronto-based Nelson Resources Ltd held through Nelson''s subsidiary, Commonwealth and British Minerals Ltd.  The assets included a 44% interest in Zeravshan Gold. In November 2004, Avocet increased its equity interest in ZGC from 49% to 75%.  In late July 2007, Avocet sold its equity stake in ZGC to China’s Zijin Mining.  ZGC owns gold mining and exploration rights to a 300,000-hectare area near the Panjakent Township in the northern Sughd province.