Glencore seeks to protect its tax secrets in Australia while agreeing to a financial settlement with Canadian regulators says report

Author: Will Fitzgibbon, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), Published on: 28 January 2019

"Glencore Fights Transparency On One Continent, Pays $22m Settlement On Another.

One year on from the Paradise Papers, the mining giant has sought to protect its tax secrets in Australia while agreeing to a financial settlement with Canadian regulators", 28 Jnauary 2019

Glencore has sought to protect its tax secrets in Australia while agreeing to a financial settlement with Canadian regulators, 12 months after the Paradise Papers investigation exposed the inner workings of the commodity giant...[Glencore]...has taken the Australian Tax Office (ATO) to court to stop officials from using documents that were made public...[by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists - ICIJ]...

Reporting by ICIJ’s Australian media partners revealed that Glencore had swapped billions of dollars from Australian to U.S. dollars in a scheme that officials are reportedly investigating for possible tax avoidance. The swaps, known as “cross-currency swaps,” are legal but under review by the ATO...Glencore defended its swaps as best business practice and necessary to guard against currency fluctuations. Earlier this month, Australia’s highest court released fresh details from Glencore’s bid to stop the ATO using documents that were part of the Paradise Papers...

Glencore argued that the so-called principle of lawyer-client confidentiality should prevent the tax office from using documents prepared for or marked as legal advice. “Clients must be able to communicate with their lawyers safe in the knowledge that, unless they waive the privilege, what they say to their lawyers will not be used to their prejudice,” Glencore previously argued...

The ATO has refused Glencore’s request to return the documents or not to use them. “The ATO believes it is not only able but compelled to use information it obtains such as the Paradise Papers and Panama Papers, as would naturally be the expectation of ordinary Australians,” the ATO said...While multinational corporations have a right to some legal privacy, says Jessie Cato, national coordinator of the Publish What You Pay...“there is clearly something here that doesn’t seem to be in line with the way that businesses should be operating.” “I don’t think the ATO is in the habit of releasing information to hurt businesses or of trying to go out and be aggressive,” said Cato...“The fact is that they probably see something.”

 

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Related companies: Glencore