Revenue fraud lawsuit claiming over Rs 7 bln filed against Coca-Cola Nepal


March 11, 2022


Revenue fraud lawsuit claiming over Rs 7 bln filed against Coca-Cola Nepal

KATHMANDU: A case of tax evasion has been filed against multinational company Coca-Cola in Nepal.

The Department of Revenue Investigation (DRI) has filed a case at Patan High Court on Friday alleging tax evasion against Bottlers Nepal Limited, the company that produces Coca-Cola beverages in Nepal, for allegedly evading more than Rs 3.71 billion in revenue.

The department claimed Rs 7.43 billion in total, including 100 percent fine along with tax evaded amount, from the company.

A press release issued by DRI on Friday stated that Dubai-based Coca Cola SABCO Asia Limited, which had a majority stake in Bottlers Nepal Limited, sold its 100 percent stake of Bottlers Nepal to Ireland-based European Refreshments on October 24, 2014, resulting in change of ownership.

However, DRI investigation showed that Bottlers Nepal Limited did not pay the capital gains tax to the government authorities concerned in Nepal from the sale of company shares to European Refreshments and also did not informed the authorities about the transactions. Thereby, DRI found Bottlers Nepal Limited at fault.

Board members of the then Coca-Cola SABCO Asia — Chairperson Shukla Wassan, director Melvin Tan Chun Pin, Mohamed Amin Ghoneim, Gaurav Khosla, Sundeep Bajoria, Debabrata Mukherjee, Sumanta Datta, Jawahar Solai Kuppuswamy and Sanket Ray — have been named defendants in the case.

Likewise, managing director of Nepal Bottlers Limited and other officials in charge of financial transactions and audit also have been named defendants. They include managing directors Pradip Pandey and Puneet Chandrapal Varshney, finance managers Rajeev Tandon, Bharat Bahadur Dahal and Sumit Goyal, Finance Controller Ashok Kumar Mandal, Board Director Trilochan Upreti and Chartered Accountant Sanjeev Kumar Mishra.

The DRI claimed Rs 7.43 billion from the defendants and also sought jail terms in accordance to various prevailing laws in Nepal for revenue fraud.