KATMANDU, December 19: The Department of Revenue Investigation (DRI), which has investigated cases of revenue leakage by Bottlers Nepal Pvt Ltd, has stepped up preparations to take legal action against the multinational company.
Bottlers Nepal produces and sells Coca Cola in Nepal. By launching a public notice on Friday, the DRI asked the executives concerned to be present in the department within a week. “In the event of failure to present to the DRI within the time limits stipulated in the notice, no complaint will be taken into account and action will be taken in accordance with the 1995 Law on Leakage of Income (Investigation and Control)”, reads. one in the opinion of the DRI.
The income investigation body has issued a warning notice against 15 leaders of Bottlers Nepal. These include Company Chairman Shukla Wassan, an Indian citizen from Gurgaon, India.
Likewise, Director General Puneet Chandrapal Varshney and Directors Melvin Tan Chun Pin, Gaurav Khosla, Sundeep Bajoria, Debabrata Mukherjee, Sumanta Datta, Jawahar Solai Kuppuswamy and Sanket Ray are among the Indian nationals against whom the DRI has stepped up its actions. Managing Director Salman Latif Rawn of Pakistan, CFO Sumit Goyal of Malaysia and Director Mohamed Amin Ghoneim of Singapore are also part of DRI’s plans to file revenue leak complaints.
The DRI has also sought to take action against foreign citizens Denise Marie-Louise Lauwens, Keith Ian Stacey and Choliya De Silva, whose countries of origin have not been disclosed.
Suspected of tax evasion, the DRI has been investigating the multinational since last year. Bottlers Nepal has been accused of evading capital gains tax when transferring promoters’ shares from a foreign shareholder six years ago.
According to DRI officials, Coca Cola Southwest Asia Holdings Limited, one of Bottlers Nepal’s main investors, sold a large part of its stake in the Nepalese company to Bottling Investments Group. But the company has not officially notified the relevant government authority in Nepal in an apparent attempt to evade tax.
Bottlers Nepal has issued capital of Rs 430 million and paid-up capital of Rs 194.80 million. Three quarters of the company’s capital is held by foreign companies while the rest of the shares are in the name of domestic investors, including 22% of the Khetan group.