NEW DELHI, APRIL 13: The controversy over the Rafale deal took a fresh turn Saturday after French newspaper Le Monde reported that Anil Ambani’s France-based telecom firm ‘Reliance Atlantic Flag France’ was given tax waivers worth 143.7 million euros by local authorities just a few months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets from Dassault.
According to the report, Ambani’s French firm was initially found liable to pay 60 million euros in taxes for the period between 2007-2010 after local tax authorities carried out an investigation into his company. Although Reliance had offered to pay 7.6 million euros as a settlement, the French tax authorities did not budge.
Subsequently, French tax authorities conducted another probe for the period between 2010-2012 and asked for an additional 91 million euros in taxes.
Notably, the total amount owed by Reliance to the French state in taxes swelled to at least 151 million euros when PM Modi announced his plans to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets, according to the Le Monde report.
The report further stated that the French authorities went on to accept 7.3 million euros from Reliance as a settlement 6 months after Modi’s Rafale announcement, instead of the much bigger sum of 151 million euros.
Ambani’s role in the Rafale deal had become controversial after a report in The Indian Express on August 31, 2018 highlighted that his film production company had invested money in a film produced by Julie Gayet, the then French President Francois Hollande’s partner, 2 days before an MoU was signed between the 2 countries during Hollande’s visit to India on January 26, 2016.
Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group is the “key partner” for Dassault Aviation, manufacturer of Rafale aircraft, for discharge of offsets in the Euro 7.87 billion deal signed between India and France. The total value of offsets from the deal is estimated to be around Rs 30,000 crore, and Reliance’s exact share in that amount has not been officially confirmed so far. (Courtesy: IE)