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Fight to the Finnish? Carlsberg may fight $51m fine for alleged tax evasion

By Ben Bouckley+

29-Apr-2014
Last updated on 29-Apr-2014 at 17:05 GMT

Niklas Morberg/Carlsberg
Niklas Morberg/Carlsberg

Carlsberg faces paying a DKK 317m fine after a Finnish court found the brewer guilty of tax evasion, according to reports.

The Copenhagen Post reports that a court in Helsinki has fined the brewer the equivalent of DKK 276m for tax evasion.

Carlsberg also stands accused of setting up a special system to avoid paying taxes in Finland between 2006 and 2010 via its 100%-owned regional subsidiary Sinebrychoff - which it took over in 1999 - according to the Danish paper, and has been fined an extra DKK 41m accordingly.

Jens Bekke, Carlsberg's head of communications, told the Ritzau news agency that the brewer believed it had withheld tax payments between 2006 and 2010, since it believe it had overpaid.

“In 2010 we paid the tax in arrears, interest for the period and a smaller fine. Since then we have paid tax as normal," he said.

Carlsberg subsidiary also a Coca-Cola bottler

According to the Copenhagen Post, the Finnish authorities believe that Carlsberg should continue to pay tax according to current regulations, and the brewer is considering appealing against the decision.

“Over the next 14 days, we will decide whether we will appeal against the case and continue it,” Bekke said.

“If we win, we will receive that amount in overpaid tax.”

We tried repeatedly to reach Jens Bekke for comment, without success. A spokeswoman for Sinebrychoff in Finland referred BeverageDaily.com back to him.

Founded in 1819, Sinebrychoff manufactures and distributes beers - including global brands Carlsberg, Tuborg and Kronenbourg - cider, soft drinks and energy drinks throughout Finland, and is a Coke bottler. It has produced Carlsberg under license in Finland since 1972.

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