Orascom Construction Industries said Wednesday that it will sit down with the Egyptian Tax Authority on 10 March to discuss recent accusations it has evaded LE14 billion in tax payments over a deal with French cement producer Lafarge.
OCI contended Monday that the total is actually LE4.7 billion
The meeting was requested in a letter from the ETA’s tax evasion office.
On Sunday, Prosecutor General Talaat Abdallah banned the company’s owners Nassef and Ansy Sawiris from traveling outside the country after the Interior Ministry accused OCI of evading taxes on profits from the sale of Orascom Cement. The firm had generated profits of nearly LE68 billion in 2005.
Finance Minister Al-Morsy Hegazy is calling for the pair to be questioned over the deal.
Meanwhile, Osama Tawakkul, Finance Ministry undersecretary, denied rumors that the ETA owns shares in Orascom, stressing that the authority cannot purchase company shares.
He predicted that ongoing negotiations with the company could garner results as of next week. He also revealed that the authority turned down OCI’s offer to donate LE1 billion to the state, adding that the authority is seeking a solution through due process.
Tawakkul said the authority said OCI could make a first payment of LE4 billion, with the remainder paid under an agreed upon timetable, which the company rejected, disputing the total OCI owes.
Edited translation from MENA