Tax dodging by brewing giant SABMiller


Senior Member
Nov 1, 2010

This week, ActionAid has exposed how the British brewing giant SABMiller, owner of Grolsch and Peroni, is dodging its taxes around the world. We found evidence that the company is systematically shifting the profits it makes in Ghana, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zambia, South Africa and India, into tax havens.

Developing countries lose an estimated £20 million a year through such practices, enough to put an extra 250,000 children through school.
Uncovering this hasn't been an easy process. We first started investigating a number of multinationals a year ago and soon found that getting basic financial information in many countries was extremely difficult.
This wasn't just a problem in developing countries, but the UK too, where many companies fail to disclose their subsidiaries, as they're legally required.
It soon became clear that SABMiller was making large payments to tax havens from every developing country we could get accounts for. So with former tax inspector (and the man who exposed the Vodafone scandal) Richard Brooks, we set about delving deeper.
We discovered that SABMiller is running increasing amounts of its business though tax havens. They're making payments of over £100 million each year to Switzerland, the Netherland and Mauritius.
Tax havens not only offer low taxes, their secrecy laws also obscure the business that goes on there. ActionAid's research for the first time lifts the veil of secrecy that allows SABMiller (and indeed many other multinationals) to siphon taxable profits out of developing countries, all within the letter of the law, but hidden from public scrutiny.
We're calling on SABMiller to stop using tax havens to shift profits out of developing countries, and to live up to its claims to be ‘sustainable and transparent', by publishing a basic set of accounts in every country it operates in.
With more protests against tax dodging companies planned this weekend, it is clear this is becoming a real reputational risk for multinational companies. We want to turn SABMiller into a market leader for tax justice.

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