Barrick Gold subsidiary evaded Tanzanian taxes, tribunal rules – by Geoffrey York (Globe and Mail – April 6, 2016)

JOHANNESBURG — The African subsidiary of Barrick Gold Corp. has engaged in a “sophisticated scheme of tax evasion” to dodge more than $40-million (U.S.) in corporate taxes, a Tanzanian tribunal has ruled.

The tribunal, headed by a High Court judge, said the subsidiary of the Toronto-based company had failed to pay any corporate taxes in Tanzania from 2010 to 2013 while still paying more than $400-million in dividends to its shareholders from its gold-mining profits in the East African country.

The tribunal ordered the company to pay $41.25-million in taxes to the Tanzanian government. The ruling is the latest sign of growing scrutiny of the tax arrangements of foreign investors worldwide, including Canada’s mining companies. The leaked documents known as the Panama Papers are another example of the mounting controversy over alleged tax avoidance.

The Barrick subsidiary said it would appeal the tax ruling to Tanzania’s highest court, calling it a “fundamentally flawed” decision. It denied any wrongdoing, and said it was merely following the terms of its investment agreement with the Tanzanian government.

The London-based subsidiary, formerly known as African Barrick Gold (ABG) and now known as Acacia Mining, is the biggest mining company in Tanzania and operates three major gold mines there.

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