Jun 03, 2018 News
British Petroleum (BP) of Trinidad and Tobago recently said that it is not involved in taxation tricks of any kind. According to the multinational company, it has an “established reputation for integrity and strict adherence and compliance with tax and other laws” in countries it operates in.
The company made these and other remarks in a lawyer’s letter to this newspaper. Its statements come on the heels of an article that was carried by this newspaper on May 17, 2018. The headline for the news item was “BP uses taxation tricks on TT, must pay back $1B.” (See link for that story: https://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/2018/05/17/bp-uses-taxation-tricks-on-tt-must-pay-back-1b/)
That news item was based on two regional reports, both of which state that Trinidad and Tobago was able to get BP to pay up millions of dollars based on outstanding tax issues.
(See links for the two referenced articles: http://newsday.co.tt/2018/04/27/bp-agrees-to-pay-1b/ and http://archives.newsday.co.tt/2011/11/05/bp-pays-1billion-in-taxes-to-tt/)
In its lawyer’s letter, BP made a number of claims regarding the May 17 article. The essence of its allegations is that Kaieteur News stated or implied that its staff engages in dishonest financial practices with the objective of dishonestly and fraudulently withholding payment of taxes lawfully due to the Government of Trinidad and Tobago.
On the contrary, it is not Kaieteur News that claimed the company is involved in irregular financial tax activities, but the government of Trinidad and other regional and international reports.
One of the many regional news sites reported for example, that the Energy giant BP has agreed to pay the TT government in excess of one billion dollars in owed fees. This very announcement was made by Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley last month as he “gave an update on negotiations over transfer pricing with major energy stakeholders in London”. (https://www.cnc3.co.tt/news/bp-agrees-pay-over-1-billion-owed-fees-tt-govt)
At its Spotlight on Energy Conference held on March 14, last, Government officials and other representatives confronted for the issue of transfer pricing by all oil companies in Trinidad and Tobago. Energy Minister, Franklin Khan, spoke specifically about the loss of revenue for the Twin Island Republic due to transfer pricing practices by oil companies. (See link for his speech: http://www.energy.gov.tt/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/HM-Franklin-Khan-Energy-Spotlight-Speech-Delivered-14_3_18.pdf)
International Consultants, Poten and Partners also spoke of the loss of US$6.5 billion per year for Trinidad and Tobago via transfer pricing (a tax avoidance scheme) by all oil companies. (Follow this link for report by Poten and Partners, among others. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/transfer-pricing-trinidad-tobago-lng-government-confronts-paul?articleId=6388464193581957120#comments-6388464193581957120&trk=prof-post)
In fact, it was in response to transfer pricing by all oil companies, that the TT Government imposed a 12.5% royalty for all oil and gas production, including existing Production Sharing Contracts, effective January 1, 2018. (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/response-transfer-pricing-tt-introduces-across-board-royalty-paul)
While the company claims that it has a “well established reputation for integrity and strict adherence” with tax and other laws in the countries it operates, an international report states otherwise.
The report called, Making a Killing: Oil Companies, Tax Avoidance & Subsidies, says, “Shell, BP and Tullow all use similar tactics to avoid paying tax…BP and Shell are particularly committed to tax havens, with more tax-dodging subsidiaries than their competitors: 605 and 523 high-secrecy subsidiaries respectively.”
(See link for full UK report: http://platformlondon.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/MakingAKilling-LOWRES.pdf)
Furthermore, the company claimed that Kaieteur News inferred that the company and its staff owed to the Government of Trinidad and Tobago outstanding taxes which it had unlawfully refused or declined to pay. The May 17 article never stated or implied this.
The oil company also states that this newspaper states or implied that its staff is an unworthy corporate citizen that displays “bad conscience and unjust behavior” in its financial and accounting activities. The May 17 article never stated or inferred that comment.
Kaieteur News understands that the agreement between Prime Minister Rowley and BP for the payment of $1B in taxes will be inked soon.
Oct 19, 2020By Sean Devers Kaieteur News – ‘Government plans to stay connected to Guyanese despite Political loyalties’ these were the words of the Honourable Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport...
By Sir Ronald Sanders Kaieteur News – A noteworthy event occurred on the afternoon of Saturday October 10, that could... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]