SYDNEY, June 27 (Reuters) - Glencore, one of the
world's biggest mining and trading houses, on Friday denied
claims by an Australian newspaper that its coal division had
paid no taxes in Australia in the past three years on income of
A$15 billion ($14.10 billion).
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Glencore Plc cut its
tax exposure by claiming tax breaks on expensive loans that were
not necessary. Interest rates on the loans, extended by
Glencore's associates overseas, were up to double what it would
have had to pay banks, the newspaper said.
"At up to 9 percent, the interest rates on these A$3.4
billion ($3.40 billion) in loans were double what the company
would have had to pay had it simply borrowed the money from the
bank," according to the report.
A Glencore spokesman said the claim that no income tax was
paid over the last three years was "preposterous."
Glencore, which acquired fellow Swiss-based resources
company Xstrata last year in a $36 billion takeover, is one of
Australia's biggest producers of coal and also a major miner
copper, zinc and other commodities.
"Glencore complies with all tax rules and regulations in
Australia and in each jurisdiction where we operate," the
company said in a statement in response to the article.
"The amount of tax our company pays is driven by the
taxation legislation put in place by local, state and federal
governments and is a matter of public policy," adding that it
paid more than A$8 billion in royalties and taxes in Australia
over the last seven years.
The article cited analysis for The Sydney Morning Herald's
publisher, Fairfax Media, of Glencore's books by an unnamed
source "personally concerned at the rampant levels of tax
avoidance by multinationals operating in Australia" for its
($1 = 1.0639 Australian Dollars)
(Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Ryan Woo)