French gas gi­ant un­der tax probe

The Myanmar Times - - International Business -

THE EU has launched an in-depth probe into al­leged sweet­heart tax deals be­tween French gas group Engie and Lux­em­bourg, tak­ing on a ma­jor Euro­pean multi­na­tional af­ter sim­i­lar high-pro­file in­ves­ti­ga­tions into US gi­ants.

“The com­mis­sion has con­cerns that sev­eral tax rul­ings is­sued by Lux­em­bourg may have given GDF Suez [now Engie] an un­fair ad­van­tage in breach of EU state aid rules,” the Euro­pean Union’s ex­ec­u­tive arm said.

The probe comes days af­ter the com­mis­sion an­gered Wash­ing­ton with a rul­ing that US tech icon Ap­ple had re­ceived favourable tax terms that amounted to state aid and or­dered it to re­pay 13 bil­lion eu­ros (US$15 bil­lion) in back-taxes in Ire­land.

“We will look care­fully at tax rul­ings is­sued by Lux­em­bourg to GDF Suez,” EU Com­pe­ti­tion Com­mis­sioner Mar­grethe Vestager said in a state­ment.

“They seem to con­tra­dict na­tional tax­a­tion rules and al­low GDF Suez to pay less tax than other com­pa­nies,” she added.

The com­mis­sion said Lux­em­bourg is sus­pected of hav­ing af­forded Engie sub­sidiaries dif­fer­ent tax treat­ments for sim­i­lar types of trans­ac­tions, low­er­ing the com­pany’s over­all tax ex­po­sure sig­nif­i­cantly.

The tiny EU na­tion has been un­der in­tense scru­tiny since the LuxLeaks rev­e­la­tions showed that cur­rent Euro­pean Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent Jean-Claude Juncker gave com­pa­nies huge tax breaks while he was Lux­em­bourg prime min­is­ter. –

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