Philippine tobacco giant pays $586 million to settle tax case

The Philippine government had accused Mighty Corp. of using counterfeit tax stamps to avoid paying 37.88 billion pesos in taxes, and threatened it with criminal charges. (Reuters)
Updated 06 October 2017
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Philippine tobacco giant pays $586 million to settle tax case

MANILA: The Philippines said Friday it has dropped a tax evasion case against the country’s number-two cigarette manufacturer after it was sold to Japan Tobacco to raise funds for a record 30 billion-peso (SR220.8 million) settlement.
Manila had accused Mighty Corp. of using counterfeit tax stamps to avoid paying 37.88 billion pesos in taxes, and threatened it with criminal charges.
However in July, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the finance department to accept a settlement, under which Mighty, which has 23 percent of the local cigarette market, would drop out of the tobacco business.
“We could consider this case as closed. (The) government of the Philippines is 40 billion pesos richer,” Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre told reporters.
The company settled the case with a 30-billion-peso payment, and paid another 10 billion pesos in taxes and penalties, he explained.
Mighty had originally offered a 25-billion-peso settlement, Aguirre added.
The company sold off its assets to Japan Tobacco International in order to meet its tax deficiencies, the finance department said earlier.
The Japanese firm, one of the world’s biggest tobacco companies, whose global brands include Winston and Camel, announced on August 22 that it was purchasing Mighty for 46.8 billion pesos.
Asked to comment on the justice department decision, a Japan Tobacco spokesman in Japan said “the tax liability is an issue that should be solved appropriately between Mighty Corp. and the Philippine government.”


‘There is no free lunch’, Macron tells tech giant CEOs

Updated 24 May 2018
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‘There is no free lunch’, Macron tells tech giant CEOs

PARIS: President Emmanuel Macron told executives from the world’s biggest technology firms on Wednesday that he wanted innovation to be a driving force for the French economy, but also that they needed to contribute more to society.
The French leader paints himself as a champion of France’s plugged-in youth and wants to transform France into a “startup nation” that draws higher investments into technology and artificial intelligence. He is also spearheading efforts in Europe to have digital companies pay more tax at source.
Macron’s guest-list included Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, IBM’s Virginia Rometty, Intel Corp’s Brian Krzanich, Microsoft Corp’s Satya Nadella and a raft of other big hitters in the corporate world.
“There is no free lunch,” he quipped in English to the executives lined up on the steps of the Elysee Palace for a photo call at a lunch meeting. “So I want from you some commitments.”
As Macron spoke, IBM announced it would hire about 1,400 people in France over the next two years in the fields of blockchain and cloud computing.
Ride-hailing app Uber also said it planned to offer all its European drivers an upgraded version of the health insurance it already provides in France in a drive to attract independent workers and fend off criticism over their treatment.
Macron will hold one-on-one talks with Mark Zuckerberg on tax and data privacy on the sidelines of the Tech For Good summit — a day after the Facebook chief executive faced questions from European Union lawmakers.
Those talks will be frank, an Elysee official said ahead of the meeting. While Macron will be pitching France Inc, he will also push his case for a European Union tax on digital turnover and a tougher fight against both data piracy and fake news.
Zuckerberg on Tuesday sailed through a grilling from EU lawmakers about the social network’s data policies, apologizing to leaders of the European Parliament for a massive data leak but dodging numerous questions.
Macron told the executives that business needed to do more in tackling issues such as inequality and climate change.
“It is not possible just to have free riding on one side, when you make a good business,” the French president said.