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Cocoa traders ready to pay Gbagbo [Côte d'Ivoire]

Author: Jack Farchy and Javier Blas, Financial Times, Published on: 21 March 2011

Some cocoa traders are preparing to pay taxes to the regime of Laurent Gbagbo in a move that would hand a lifeline to the embattled former Ivory Coast president...Cocoa traders fear Mr Gbagbo may confiscate stocks of cocoa worth $1.3bn if they do not pay export taxes by the end of March, as he has ordered...In January, the traders stopped exporting cocoa, depriving the Gbagbo government of revenue from export taxes, after the imposition of a ban by Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognised winner of November’s election, and European sanctions. But Ricardo Leiman, chief executive of...Noble Group, said that if Mr Gbagbo was still in control by March 31, the company would pay the export taxes...Noble Group later clarified that the company’s actions would be guided by its legal advice. The comments caused surprise...as other companies insisted they would resist paying the taxes, citing an informal agreement among the cocoa industry to present a unified front...But another executive said that...he would have to “reassess the situation” if the threat of confiscation were to remain on March 31...The stocks under threat...could be worth nearly $300m in taxes to Mr Gbagbo’s government. Diplomats believe he needs about $150m a month to keep the loyalty of military forces and civil servants. [also refers to Barry Callebaut, Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill, Olam, Noble, Touton, Ecom Agroindustrial, Armajaro]

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Related companies: Archer Daniels Midland Barry Callebaut Cargill Ecom Agroindustrial Noble Group Olam