CEO's Stake in Gulf Keystone Questioned

Todd Kozel, the founder and chief executive officer of Iraq-focussed Gulf Keystone Petroleum Ltd. (GKP), said he may have to pay a $6 million fine to U.S. tax authorities because he didn’t declare overseas accounts and trusts.

According to the report from Bloomberg, the penalty came to light when his attorneys listed it among his debts in his Florida divorce case. Kozel applied for immunity from prosecution under the Internal Revenue Service’s amnesty program over assets including Swiss bank accounts, his wife Ashley Kozel’s lawyer said this week.

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.

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 U.K., 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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