BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s biggest mining company, rejected claims of tax evasion in Australia by pointing to $58 billion in taxes and royalties paid in the country over the past decade.
“We’re astonished to hear some politicians claiming that we haven’t been paying our fair share,” Jac Nasser, chairman of Melbourne-based company, told an audience of investors, executives and journalists at a company event in London on Monday night. “If we were avoiding tax, we’re clearly no good at it.”
Last week, former Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan, who was locked in a dispute with BHP and rival Rio Tinto Group over a plan to raise taxes earlier this decade, accused the company of funneling sales through its Singapore marketing hub to help lower its tax bill.
The practice, known as transfer pricing, is not illegal though increasingly attracts scrutiny of governments around the world seeking to crack down on the strategy.
“The evidence against BHP is damning,” Swan told Australia’s parliament on Oct. 12 as lawmakers discussed a bill on international tax agreements. The use of transfer pricing has cost Australian taxpayers “well over” A$1 billion ($767 million), he said.
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