EU meat giants use vague schemes to evade millions in taxes, reports suggest
Published: September 26, 2022

Europe's largest meat producers have not been paying taxes on hundreds of millions euros by using complex corporate structures and affiliated firms in tax havens, an investigation has revealed.

The Dutch nonprofit Lighthouse Reports and the Guardian daily analyzed annual reports of dozens of companies registered in the United Kingdom, and EU tax havens Ireland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg to track unscrupulous businesses.

The findings turned the spotlight on the UK's Anglo Beef Processors (ABP), owned by Irish billionaire Larry Goodman, as well as on Pilgrim’s Pride and Moy Park, which are both majority owned by Brazilian beef giant JBS, the world’s largest meat company.

Quote:The meat companies, the leading suppliers to most major supermarkets and food chains like McDonald's, Nando's and KFC, have apparently avoided paying tax on more than 200 million euros ($194 million) while profiting from public subsidies, Lighthouse Reports said.

The investigation suggests complicated financial structures that, while not illegal, allow the companies involved to benefit from different tax regimes in the UK and tax havens by lending money from a firm in one country to a related firm in another and then borrowing it back at a different interest rate.

Margaret Hodge, a UK Labour Party member who heads the All Party Parliamentary Group on Tax, said corporations were "butchering" their responsibilities to society while avoiding paying their "fair share" of tax. This is despite them profiting from billions in taxpayer-funded subsidies given to livestock farmers every year.

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