Indonesian palm oil firm Asian Agri to pay $250 million tax fine

JAKARTA (REUTERS) - Indonesia's Asian Agri Group, one of Asia's largest palm oil producers which was found guilty of tax evasion in 2012, has agreed to pay 2.5 trillion rupiah (S$ 250 million) in fines after the Attorney General's Office threatened to seize its assets.

Asian Agri, owned by tycoon Sukanto Tanoto, paid nearly 720 billion rupiah on Jan 28 and will settle the outstanding amount by paying 200 billion rupiah each month until October, Attorney General Basrief Arief said at a news briefing on Thursday.

The company, whose palm oil can be used to make cooking oil, biofuel and other products, also has to pay an outstanding tax bill of 950 billion rupiah, said Taxation Director General Fuad Rahmany.

Asian Agri owed the tax office 1.9 trillion rupiah when it was found guilty of tax evasion, but has since paid the bulk.

The Attorney General's Office, threatening to seize Asian Agri's assets on Jan. 9, said it had traced factories, farms and buildings worth around 5 trillion rupiah owned by 14 group companies.

Asian Agri has 160,000 hectares of palm plantation land and an annual production capacity of 1 million tonnes of palm oil, according to its website. It manages 28 plantations and 19 palm oil mills.

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