More reports on: Telecom
HC unfreezes Nokia's cash; other assets remain locked news
01 October 2013

Nokia India, an arm of the Finnish mobile handset maker Nokia Corp, said on Monday that the Delhi High Court has unfrozen some of the company's assets that Indian tax authorities had frozen as part of a Rs2,080-crore tax dispute.

"Late last week, the Delhi High Court ruled in Nokia's favour in a case where the Indian tax authorities froze some of Nokia's assets for potential claims that hadn't even been raised against the company yet," the company said in a statement.

At a time when Nokia is in the process of completing a $7.2-billion deal with Microsoft, the income-tax department last week froze Nokia's mobile phone manufacturing plant in Chennai, certain other buildings, and its bank accounts, whereupon Nokia appealed to the court.

Following the tax department's action, Nokia moved the Delhi High Court which lifted the sanction on the company's bank accounts, but its immovable assets remain frozen, a company spokesman said.

The company's manufacturing plant near Chennai, which formed a part of the deal by Nokia to sell its handset business to Microsoft, is among the frozen assets, in connection with a retrospective tax demand of Rs2,080 crore from the finance ministry's I-T department in March this year.

The department said that the company's India unit had since 2006 evaded taxes on software downloaded on handsets manufactured in Nokia India's Sriperumbudur facility. Nokia has denied any wrongdoing.

On Monday, Nokia said that it was working closely with the parties to find a comprehensive solution to the remaining open issues and added that discussions so far were constructive.

"Contrary to speculation in the media, Nokia has sufficient assets in India to meet its tax obligations, details of which will be shared with the tax authorities to allay any concerns they may have. Given that negotiations are ongoing, Nokia will not comment further on this matter," it said.

However, it added that it will also ready itself to ''defend vigorously as needed''.

The Helsinki-based company had written to the government in June expressing displeasure at being treated ''unfairly''.

It had threatened to wind up its manufacturing business from India, which it recently said had become the ''least favourable market'' in the world to do business in.


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HC unfreezes Nokia's cash; other assets remain locked