Siem Offshore has been slapped with a Nkr10 million ($1.6 million) fine by Norway’s financial crime unit for alleged tax evasion but the Oslo-listed shipowner is refusing to accept the penalty.
The company has been indicted by Okokrim for alleged breaches of fiscal regulations by failing to deliver tax returns between 2005 and 2007 and giving incorrect information in its 2008 tax return.
The unit is also demanding the company repay Nkr2.5 million in alleged unpaid tax dues.
However, Siem said in a statement it disputed Okokrim’s findings and found them “unjustified”, especially in relation to the claim that it wilfully sought to defraud the tax authorities.
“The company has therefore as a matter of principle resolved not to accept the fine, which means that Okokrim will have to decide whether to press charges in a normal court procedure,” the company stated.
Siem said the non-delivery of the tax returns over the two-year period was due to a “misunderstanding” over vessel taxation off Norway and that it subsequently filed the returns and paid outstanding tax after being contacted by the tax authorities in 2008.
The company, with majority owner Kristian Siem on the board, claimed this meant it had paid Nkr75 million more than necessary in tax and also criticised the authorities for sitting on this information for five years before filing a complaint with Okokrim last year.
It attributed the charge of giving incorrect information to “ticking the wrong box” in the tax return.