Owner of Oriental Brewery pays 150 bln won in back taxes

SEOUL, Dec. 26 (Yonhap) -- Malt Holding Co., the foreign private equity fund that owns South Korea's Oriental Brewery Co., paid 150 billion won (US$141.5 million) in back taxes last month on a dividend of 700 billion won over the past three years, industry sources said Thursday.

According to the sources, Malt Holding paid the ordered amount but filed a complaint early this month with the National Tax Tribunal against South Korea's decision.

Malt Holding is a subsidiary of Netherlands-based Silenun Holings B.V., a 50-50 joint paper company between foreign private equity funds KPR and Affinity Equity Partners. It bought the entire stake in South Korea's biggest brewer from Anheuser-Busch InBev NV for $1.8 billion in 2009.

Under tax and commercial laws, local companies do not pay taxes when they receive dividends from their subsidiaries in the country.

However, the National Tax Service (NTS) imposed the taxes on grounds that Malt Holding is not a local firm but a paper company established by private equity funds to evade taxes, according to the sources.

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