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Thai court fines Philip Morris $39.7 million for tax evasion

BANGKOK — A court in Thailand has found the local unit of tobacco giant Philip Morris guilty of evading taxes by under-declaring the value of cigarettes it imported from the Philippines. It ordered the company to pay a fine of 1.2 billion baht ($39.7 million).

The Criminal Court on Friday found Philip Morris Thailand as a company guilty but acquitted seven employees for lack of evidence they were responsible. The company said it would appeal the ruling.

Thailand’s state prosecutor accused the company of evading some 20 billion baht ($662 million) in taxes between 2003 and 2006.

The case triggered an international trade dispute, with the Philippines winning a World Trade Organization ruling that Thailand’s import tariffs were unfairly used to give an advantage to the state-controlled Thailand Tobacco Monopoly.

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