Ecuador Tax Chief: Coca Cola Unit Now Paying Back Taxes
By Mercedes Alvaro
Dow Jones Newswires
March 05, 2008

QUITO -(Dow Jones)- Ecuador Bottling Company Corp., a unit of the Coca Cola Co. (KO), has started to pay back taxes the government says it is owed, the chief of the Internal Revenue Service, or SRI, Carlos Marx Carrasco, said Wednesday.

"The company failed to pay around $20 million between 2000 and 2004, but it is changing its behavior and it has started to pay," Carrasco told Dow Jones Newswires.

According to Carrasco, the company paid less than it should have in income taxes and for a consumption tax.

Initially, the company didn't accept the debt and began legal proceedings, but it has changed its decision and has begun to pay, Carrasco said.

The company wasn't available to comment.

Separately, the SRI on Tuesday closed for seven days Industrial Molinera, a company owned the banana tycoon and former presidential candidate Alvaro Noboa.

The company is accused of not giving information required to SRI, and according to Carrasco if the information is not delivered to SRI, the company could be closed permanently.

The SRI has also accused a local unit of America Movil (AMX) of paying fewer taxes than it should have. According to a special audit, this company owes around $150 million to the SRI.

-By Mercedes Alvaro, Dow Jones Newswires; 5939-9728-653; mercedes.alvaro@ dowjones.com

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