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Indonesian palm oil giant Asian Agri to pay $262 million tax fine

Published on Jan 30, 2014 6:37 PM

JAKARTA (AFP) - Indonesian palm oil giant Asian Agri said on Thursday it had agreed to pay a US$205 million (S$262 million) fine in a case seen as a test of authorities' determination to stop widespread tax evasion.

The Supreme Court in 2012 accused a string of Asian Agri's subsidiaries of tax evasion and ordered the company to pay a 2.5 trillion rupiah fine and another 1.26 trillion rupiah in lost state revenues.

Tax evasion has long been rampant in graft-ridden Indonesia but authorities have been taking a tougher stance in recent years and have introduced a series of sweeping reforms.

Asian Agri, which denies any wrongdoing, had already returned most of the lost taxes but refused to pay the fine. However it finally agreed to pay after authorities recently threatened to seize its assets.

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