Walt Disney Company

A investigative news report said Walt Disney Co. was among more than two dozen firms that engaged in complex deals in Luxembourg to avoid U.S. taxes.

By Dean Starkman
December 10, 2014

Walt Disney Co., giant conglomerate Koch Industries Inc. and other companies channeled hundreds of millions of dollars in profits through units based in Luxembourg in secret deals designed to avoid paying U.S. taxes, according to a new report.

The International Coalition of Investigative Journalists said in its report late Monday that the maneuvers were found among a trove of leaked documents highlighting Luxembourg’s role as a center of tax-avoidance deals for global corporations.

The organization’s reports, which started last month, have roiled the tiny Northern European grand duchy and led to vows from the country’s government to tighten oversight of so-called tax rulings, which have allowed the deals to go forward.

In a statement Tuesday, the Luxembourg Finance Ministry “acknowledged the publication” of the journalism group’s report, saying “the way in which these documents were acquired is highly questionable.”

Even so, the ministry said, “Luxembourg agrees that the legitimacy of certain mechanisms, which are compliant with international and national law, can be put in doubt from an ethical point of view.”

The journalists’ group has published exposes on the offshore tax haven industry since spring 2013, basing its first reporting on 2.5 million pages of documents leaked from offshore financial servicing firms based in the British Virgin Islands and other tax havens.

Those stories had spurred official investigations in the United Kingdom, France, Canada, the Philippines and elsewhere.

The latest set of leaks was based on what the organization said was a confidential cache it obtained of secret tax agreements approved by Luxembourg authorities that provide tax relief for more than 350 companies around the world.

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