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Former Severstal exec indicted on tax charges

Keywords: Tags  steel, Severstal, Victor Lipukhin, UBS, Swiss bank accounts, Department of Justice, Internal Revenue Service, Ford Motor Catherine Ngai

NEW YORK — A former executive of Russia’s OAO Severstal has been accused of hiding millions of dollars from U.S. tax authorities in Swiss bank accounts.

Victor Lipukhin was indicted last week by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo., for “attempting to interfere with the administration of the internal revenue laws and filing false tax returns,” the Justice Department said in a statement March 21.

Lipukhin, a Russian citizen who lived in St. Charles, Ill., from at least 2001 through mid-2007, is accused of holding some $4 million to $7.5 million in assets in bank accounts with UBS AG in Switzerland from at least 2002 to 2007. If convicted, he faces a potential maximum sentence of three years imprisonment on each count.

The Justice Department statement said that Lipukhin formerly served as president of Severstal Inc. (USA), but OAO Severstal said that Lipukhin was never an executive at the steelmaker. “Until 2002, Lipukhin worked for the company’s U.S.-based trade office,” the company said on its website. “He has never been a senior executive at Severstal. For a long time he has been not affiliated with Severstal. We also do not have any information about his activities or whereabouts.”

Severstal’s trading arm existed more than a decade ago, and the Russian parent bought Rouge Steel Co.—later named Severstal Dearborn—from Rouge Industries Inc. in 2004 after it was spun off by Dearborn, Mich.-based Ford Motor Co. in 1989.

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