GE Chief Executive Jeff Immelt Credit: Mark Wilson, Getty Images

GE Chief Executive Jeff Immelt

Argentina Adds GE and Ambev to Tax Fraud Probe

The government accuses the companies of overvaluing imports as a way to reduce the amount of taxes they pay in local currency.

BUENOS AIRES - Argentina on Wednesday broadened a tax fraud probe against Procter & Gamble (IW 500/14) to include General Electric (IW 500/7) and Brazil's Ambev (IW 1000/306) brewers.

"The complaints in process are against P&G, GE and [Ambev unit] Malteria Pampa, among other" companies, presidential chief of staff Jorge Capitanich said at a congressional committee meeting.

The government accuses the companies of overvaluing imports as a way to reduce the amount of taxes they pay in local currency.

On Monday, P&G denied Argentina's allegations, and says it pays all of its taxes.

"P&G pays all the taxes we owe in every country and jurisdiction, worldwide," the company said.

"P&G takes very seriously our responsibility to abide by the laws of every country we operate in, and to contribute to the countries and communities in which we live and work."

Officials in Buenos Aires announced Sunday they had stripped the business registration of the U.S. multinational.

The company will be able to resume operations in Argentina once it has paid its tax bill and fines, officials said.

Capitanich also said Argentina has an agreement with Switzerland on tax information. "There are 4,000 accounts [held by Argentina individuals and businesses] of which only 123 have been declared," he said.

The government is working on legislation to rein in tax evasion and alleged large-scale corporate currency maneuvers.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014

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