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BATB deploys British High Commissioner to negotiate tax evasion battle worth Tk. 1924bn

A ground-breaking media story has been published by an ATMA member Mr. Abul Kashem on the first page of a leading Bengali newspaper, The Daily Kalerkantho on 19th August 2017.

The story says that the British American Tobacco Bangladesh (BATB) has evaded tax (VAT and SD) worth Tk. 19.24 billion by providing false price declaration of two cigarette brands i.e. Bristol and Pilot during FY 2009-10 to 2012-13. When identified, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) issued a demand notice to deposit the money in government exchequer.

Challenging the NBR’s claim, BATB filed a case in the High Court (HC) but lost and ordered to pay the money. Now BATB deploys the British High Commissioner in Bangladesh, Ms. Alison Blake to negotiate the case out of Court so that the company do not need to pay the money to the government treasury.

On August 06, 2017, Ms. Alison Blake issued a letter to the Finance Minister asking to have a negotiation meeting. On the letter, the British High Commissioner wrote, “Writing about the long pending British American Tobacco Bangladesh (BATB) issue, and we have discussed the issue earlier several times. I am hopeful that your office is friendly in solving the matter.”

When inquired about the request about mitigating the issue out of court, the British High Commission in Dhaka said, “We do not make remark about any leaked document”. The NBR Commissioner says that since the case is under trial in the Appellate Division, there is nothing to do, it should be negotiated by the Court.

Since the story published in Bangla, a translated version of the story is attached herewith for wider audience while the original version of the story can be found at http://www.kalerkantho.com/print-edition/first-page/2017/08/19/533484.

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