Europe, Middle East and Africa Oil and Gas Correspondent
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Dec 19, 2014

How GE changed tack on Russia

LONDON (Reuters) – About five years ago, General Electric Co, the largest Western player in Russia’s market for medical equipment, uncovered pervasive corruption in its Russian business. Ferdinando Beccalli-Falco, then chief executive of GE Germany and Developed Markets, told an investor conference in 2012 that senior management became aware of the problems around 2009.

“We had to eliminate more than half of our healthcare organization because we discovered that they were happily scamming our customers, scamming against us and scamming against the government,” Beccalli-Falco told the conference.

Dec 19, 2014

Special Report: Opaque middlemen exact high price in Russia’s deals with the West

MOSCOW/LONDON, Dec 19 (Reuters) – Russia pays hugely inflated prices for vital medical equipment made by Western companies, in part because some manufacturers channel sales through obscure intermediary companies, a Reuters examination has found.

These middlemen firms, which have no easily traceable owners or offices, add mark-ups that mean Russian state hospitals frequently pay two or three times more than hospitals in the West for the same equipment. A Reuters examination of Russian customs data and state procurement records shows the price differences can be hundreds of thousands of dollars on a single item.

Dec 19, 2014

Opaque middlemen exact high price in Russia’s deals with the West

MOSCOW/LONDON, Dec 19 (Reuters) – Russia pays hugely
inflated prices for vital medical equipment made by Western
companies, in part because some manufacturers channel sales
through obscure intermediary companies, a Reuters examination
has found.

These middlemen firms, which have no easily traceable owners
or offices, add mark-ups that mean Russian state hospitals
frequently pay two or three times more than hospitals in the
West for the same equipment. A Reuters examination of Russian
customs data and state procurement records shows the price
differences can be hundreds of thousands of dollars on a single
item.

Dec 10, 2014

UK ‘Google tax’ will target inter-company payments

LONDON (Reuters) – A new British tax on companies that shift profits out of the country and into tax havens will target inter-company fees for services like use of intellectual property, according to a Treasury document seen by Reuters.

Companies will also be required to report their potential liability to the new tax, which the note said will sit outside the existing corporate tax system. That is intended to avoid legal challenges under existing tax treaties with countries like Ireland, a major conduit for shifted profits.

Dec 9, 2014

New Luxembourg leaks reveal Disney, Koch Industries tax deals

LONDON (Reuters) – Tax deals that entertainment giant Walt Disney Co., commodities group Koch Industries [KCHIN.UL] and others agreed with the Luxembourg authorities were revealed on Tuesday by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

The ICIJ said the two companies engaged in complex restructurings, and channeled hundreds of millions of dollars in profits between 2009 and 2013 through Luxembourg subsidiaries that enjoyed tax rates of less than 1 percent.

Nov 14, 2014

EU says Starbucks’ ‘very low’ Dutch tax deal may be illegal

BRUSSELS/LONDON (Reuters) – A tax deal the Netherlands cut with Starbucks Corp (SBUX.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) may be illegal state aid, European Union regulators said on Friday, part of a crackdown on members attracting investment by helping companies to avoid tax.

Luxembourg, Ireland, Malta, Belgium, Cyprus and Gibraltar are also facing scrutiny over tax deals they have struck with multinational companies.

Oct 14, 2014

Irish tax changes may cost U.S. groups billions

LONDON, Oct 14 (Reuters) – Ireland’s plan to close a “Double
Irish” tax loophole could cost U.S. companies including
Apple and Google billions of dollars, although
a new break and pressure to tackle tax avoidance elsewhere means
they are unlikely to decamp.

Analysts and tax advisers predict that corporations which
need access to the EU’s 500 million consumers will find it
difficult to set up equally effective schemes in other member
states as Brussels investigates arrangements that involve paying
minimal tax rates.

Sep 30, 2014

EU says Ireland swapped Apple tax deal for jobs

BRUSSELS/LONDON (Reuters) – The European Union has accused Ireland of swerving international tax rules by letting Apple shelter profits worth tens of billions of dollars from revenue collectors in return for maintaining jobs.

European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia told the Dublin government in a letter published on Tuesday that tax deals agreed in 1991 and 2007 amounted to state aid and may have broken EU laws.

Sep 30, 2014

EU says Ireland tax deal with Apple was state aid

BRUSSELS/LONDON (Reuters) – The European Union has accused Ireland of giving Apple Inc. state aid by letting the iPhone maker shelter profits worth tens of billions of dollars from tax, in return for maintaining jobs.

European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia told the Dublin government in a letter published on Tuesday that tax deals agreed in 1991 and 2007 appeared to amount to state aid that may have broken EU laws.

Sep 23, 2014

Tesco-style accounting risks well known in retail industry

LONDON, Sept 23 (Reuters) – Tesco Plc’s disclosure of huge
accounting mistakes over contracts with its suppliers shocked
industry analysts and executives, but not because they didn’t
realise the potential for disaster.

On the contrary, they assumed that everyone in retailing was
fully aware of the risks involved in accounting for rebates paid
by suppliers to Britain’s biggest supermarket groups, thanks to
auditors’ warnings.

    • About Tom

      "Tom leads our coverage of the oil and gas industry in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and is also author of 'Spills & Spin: The Inside Story of BP'. A former oil broker who turned to journalism 12 years ago, he is regularly interviewed on CNBC and other TV and radio stations on energy matters. Tom has reported from over twenty countries including Iran, Iraq, India, Pakistan, Tanzania, the U.S. and Russia. As Europe, Middle East and Africa Oil & Gas Correspondent, he has chartered the rise in oil prices to record levels, interviewed oil ministers and the CEOs of ..."
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