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Reckitt Benckiser denies Oxfam claims of avoiding millions in taxes

Reuters  |  LONDON 

(Reuters) - British consumer goods giant Benckiser Group said on Wednesday its structure and practices were in line with other global businesses, denying allegations of avoidance in developing countries, after charity group Oxfam levelled charges against it.

Oxfam said on Thursday in a report that funnelled intra-company transactions through the "low-jurisdictions" of Netherlands, Dubai and Singapore, so that more profit accumulates there, rather than in countries where the company has its core business, and where rates are higher.

It went on to add that a significant business reason for the relocation was to save It said that restructured its transfer pricing model to avoid taxes.

said it "strongly refuted" that its 2012 move to locate regional headquarters in the Netherlands, Dubai and Singapore was driven principally by avoidance. It said the decision was motivated by a desire to ensure its business was organised to be close to its customers and consumers.

The maker of Durex condoms and Lysol cleaners said in a statement that its policy is "totally legal and the norm for the majority of global businesses", adding its 2016 effective rate of 23 percent compared favourably with peers.

Oxfam said avoided taxes of 66.2 million pounds ($85.33 million) in France, 71.3 million pounds in Australia, 22.0 million pounds in Belgium and 7.4 million pounds in New Zealand in between 2013 and 2015.

It also said evidence suggested that took advantage of specific deals agreed with the Luxembourg government, and did not pay 17 million pounds in between 2010 and 2015.

"We similarly strongly refute any link between our structure and the assertion that we seek to avoid taxes in developing countries that could otherwise have been invested in public health and education," said in advance of the Oxfam report.

"None of our business operations are in any way linked to avoidance in developing countries," it added.

The company said it supports efforts to increase trust and understanding of systems around the world and supports OECD guidelines on and transparency and will fully comply.

($1 = 0.7758 pounds)

(Reporting by Martinne Geller and Sangameswaran S; editing by Alexander Smith, G Crosse and Diane Craft)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, July 13 2017. 04:50 IST
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