Bermuda Oil Firm Founder Could Owe $6M

December 9, 2011

The founder and CEO of Bermuda’s Gulf Keystone Petroleum Ltd., may have to pay a $6 million fine to US tax authorities because he didn’t declare overseas accounts and trusts, the Bloomberg financial news service reports today [Dec.9].

The penalty came to light when Todd Kozel’s attorneys listed it among his debts in his Florida divorce case.

Mr. Kozel applied for immunity from prosecution under the Internal Revenue Service’s amnesty programme over foreign assets including Swiss bank accounts, his wife Ashley Kozel’s lawyer said this week.

In an interview after a hearing in Sarasota, Florida, Mr. Kozel said that while he applied for amnesty, he didn’t owe taxes and only failed to file the proper forms declaring the accounts. “This was a mistake on my part for not checking a box on tax returns for money that I did claim,” he said.

Mr. Kozel, who has overseen Gulf Keystone’s rise from a penny stock to the most-valuable firm on London’s Alternative Investment Market is facing separate lawsuits in the UK, Pennsylvania and Florida disputing how much of the oil company he owns.

Gulf Keystone, based in Bermuda, plans to join the FTSE 250 Index next year. The company’s shares have risen more than 1,000 percent since it announced it found as much as 10 billion barrels of oil in northern Iraq’s Shaikan field.

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