NEW DELHI: French authorities waived taxes worth €143.7 million for Anil Ambani’s France-based telecom firm Reliance Flag after PM Narendra Modi said India would buy 36 Rafale fighter jets from Dassault in April 2015, French paper Le Monde reported on Saturday.
While the article, written by Julien Bouissou and Anne Michel, was quickly picked up by the opposition
Congress, Reliance denied any wrongdoing. India’s defence ministry also dismissed it as “totally inaccurate, tendentious and a mischievous attempt to disinform”.
According to a series of tweets by Bouissou, the paper’s South Asia correspondent, Anil has a telecom company registered in France called Reliance Atlantic Flag France. It was investigated by French tax authorities and found liable to pay €60 million in taxes for the 2007-2010 period. Reliance offered to pay €7.6 million, but the offer was rejected. The French conducted another probe for the 2010-2012 period and demanded an additional €91 million in taxes.
“In April 2015, PM Modi announced plans to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets from Dassault. Then, the total amount owed by Reliance in taxes was at least €151 million. Six months later, the French authorities accepted €7.3 million as a settlement, instead of €151 million. So, between February and October 2015, while the French were negotiating the Rafale contract with India, Anil Ambani enjoyed a tax waiver of €143.7 million from the French state. Quite a cozy deal, right?” Bouissou asked.
Reliance Flag France, which owns a terrestrial cable network and other infrastructure in France, acts as a service provider to other telecom firms.
According to the French govt, the tax dispute with Anil’s firm was settled as per French tax laws and “it was not subject to any political interference whatsoever”