Philippines files $120 mln suit against local oil firm Phoenix

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4:15 PM | Aizat Chik Suliman | No comments

* Govt says Phoenix's fuel imports lack proper documents
* Company says prepared to defend itself
* Pheonix's shares slide 7.8 pct
* Customs collection in April below goal
MANILA, May 5 (Reuters) - The Philippine government filed a $120 million complaint on Thursday against publicly listed independent oil firm Phoenix Petroleum Philippines , accusing it of not paying excise and value-added taxes for more than half of 2010.
The government said Phoenix had brought in various fuel products between June and December last year without import declarations, and took out imported fuel products between June 2010 and April 2011 from various ports without the required import documents.
Raymond Zorilla, spokesman at Phoenix Petroleum, said the company has not yet received the complaint but it was prepared to defend itself.
"What we can promise the consuming public is that all our transactions are above board," Zorilla said. "We have paid all taxes and duties on each of the shipments we have made."
Customs Deputy Commissioner Gregorio Chavez said in a statement the agency found sufficient proof to claim 5.14 billion pesos ($120 million) as damages from the fraudulent shipments.
Phoenix Petroleum shares slumped 7.8 percent on Thursday. The broader market lost 1.2 percent.
The government of President Benigno Aquino, which took office on June 30, has launched a high-profile campaign against suspected tax evaders, unveiling a case each week since mid-July, to shore up weak revenues.
Last month, it filed tax evasion cases against the son of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, seeking back taxes and penalties totalling more than $1.7 million. [ID:nL3E7F712X]
Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez told reporters the agency missed its revenue target of around 25 billion pesos in April because of fewer working days due to the Lenten break.
Alvarez said the agency hopes to hit its collection target of 26.5 billion pesos this month.
($1 = 42.90 Philippine Pesos) (Reporting by Karen Lema; Editing by Rosemarie Francisco and Muralikumar Anantharaman)

source : router


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