Former CEO of GKP Jailed for Tax Evasion

By John Lee.

A US court has sentenced the former CEO of Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP) to five years in prison for tax evasion.

According to a statement from the US Department of Justice, Todd Kozel used offshore structures, trusts, and bank accounts to conceal a portion of his undeclared income from the U.S. government.

In addition to the prison sentence, Kozel, was sentenced to two years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $29,462,965.23.

The full text of the court statement follows:

Co-Founder And Former CEO Of Foreign Oil Company Sentenced To 60 Months In Prison For Failure To File Tax Returns Causing Over $20 Million In Losses To The U.S. Treasury Damian Williams, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Thomas Fattorusso, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation ("IRS-CI"), announced today that TODD KOZEL, the former Chief Executive Officer ("CEO") of a multi-national foreign oil company, was sentenced in Manhattan federal court to 60 months in prison following KOZEL's guilty plea to five counts of willful failure to file individual income tax returns for the calendar years 2011 through 2015.  U.S. District Judge Kimba M. Wood, who previously accepted Kozel's guilty plea, imposed today's sentence.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said:  "For years, Todd Kozel failed to file income tax returns, or pay the federal tax liabilities that were owed under those returns, despite earning millions of dollars in compensation as the CEO of an overseas oil company.  Today's sentence shows that no one is above the law-all citizens must pay their fair share of taxes, including Americans who earn compensation from working in foreign countries."

IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent-in-Charge Tom Fattorusso said:  "U.S. citizens are required to pay taxes on worldwide income from all sources, including income earned overseas. Kozel earned tens of millions of dollars, and as a result, was required by law to pay taxes - more than $20 million - on those earnings. By not paying his fair share, he cheated the American people out of millions of dollars."

According to the Information and other documents filed in the case, as well as statements made during public court proceedings:

Pursuant to the Internal Revenue Code and attendant regulations, all United States citizens and residents who had annual income in excess of a threshold amount are required to report accurately their income, tax obligations, and, where appropriate, any claim for a refund on a United States Individual Income Tax Return, Form 1040 ("Form 1040"), which must be filed annually with the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS").  This obligation applies to all sources of income, including income earned through overseas employment and from foreign financial accounts.

From at least in or about 2004 through at least in or about 2014, TODD KOZEL was the co-founder and CEO of a London-based petroleum company with operations in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (the "Oil Company").  During the period 2011 through 2015, KOZEL, a United States citizen, earned substantial compensation as the CEO of the Oil Company, totaling more than approximately $66 million during the five-year period.  But despite earning this substantial income, KOZEL willfully failed timely to file any personal federal income tax returns for calendar years 2011 through 2015, resulting in well over $20 million in unpaid federal tax liabilities.  As part of his criminal conduct, KOZEL used sophisticated offshore structures, trusts, and bank accounts to conceal a portion of his undeclared income from the U.S. government.

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In addition to the prison sentence, KOZEL, 55, of New York, New York, was sentenced to two years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $29,462,965.23.

Mr. Williams praised the IRS-CI for their outstanding investigative work on this case, and thanked the Large Business and International Division of the IRS for its assistance.

This case is being handled by the Office's Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Louis A. Pellegrino and Olga I. Zverovich are in charge of the prosecution.

(Source: US Department of Justice)

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