CityPress - - Business -

Plat­inum pro­ducer Lon­min blocked the re­lease of a re­port on how it al­legedly shifted profit out of South Africa while plead­ing that its hous­ing com­mit­ments and work­ers’ wage de­mands were un­af­ford­able.

The company sought a court in­ter­dict against a press con­fer­ence sched­uled for Wed­nes­day by the Al­ter­na­tive In­for­ma­tion and De­vel­op­ment Cen­tre (AIDC) where the re­port was to be re­leased.

The re­port is based on fi­nan­cial state­ments of Lon­min’s op­er­at­ing sub­sidiaries in South Africa spe­cially pre­pared for the tax au­thor­i­ties. But they were also sub­mit­ted as ev­i­dence to the Far­lam com­mis­sion – al­legedly on the un­der­stand­ing of con­fi­den­tial­ity.

The leak­ing of the state­ments from the com­mis­sion has al­lowed the AIDC to pierce the cor­po­rate veil, throw­ing open Lon­min’s af­fairs.

What emerge are al­le­ga­tions that Lon­min’s South African mines paid in­flated com­mis­sions to a tax-free mar­ket­ing arm in Ber­muda, and to its head­quar­ters in London, that out­strip any ac­tual costs in­curred by th­ese parts of the company.

The trans­fers ap­par­ently av­er­aged R292 mil­lion a year be­tween 2006 and 2012.

Lon­min claims the AIDC is simultaneously de­fam­ing the company, un­der­min­ing the Far­lam com­mis­sion by pre-empt­ing its find­ings and mak­ing pub­lic con­fi­den­tial in­for­ma­tion at the com­mis­sion in con­tra­ven­tion of the terms of ref­er­ence set for the com­mis­sion.

Lon­min and the AIDC reached an in­terim agree­ment un­til the in­ter­dict ap­pli­ca­tion gets heard. Ac­cord­ing to the re­port’s au­thor Dick Forslund, it will almost cer­tainly still be re­leased at a press con­fer­ence - sub­ject to giv­ing Lon­min two days warn­ing to re­view it. The AIDC also promised to stop claim­ing Lon­min has “hood­winked” the Far­lam com­mis­sion or the tax au­thor­i­ties..


– De­wald van

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