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Bunge Argentine Taxes Unpaid for 3 Years, Agency Says

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Oct. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Bunge Ltd., Argentina’s second-biggest exporter, owes more than 1 billion pesos ($252 million) of income tax for the past three years, said Ricardo Echegaray, the head of the South American country’s tax agency.

The soybean processor and exporter last paid income tax for 2006, Echegaray told reporters today in Buenos Aires.

Government authorities raided Bunge offices in Argentina on Oct. 1 after federal Judge Carlos Ochoa ruled on a complaint filed by the tax agency. Bunge denied it has evaded taxes in an Oct. 1 statement. Spokeswoman Susan Burns said the company is “cooperating fully with the authorities,” in an e-mail that same day.

Marcelo Altuna and Mariana Faccio, two outside representatives for Bunge in Buenos Aires, didn’t return calls by Bloomberg News today. Burns didn’t reply to calls and e-mails sent today seeking comment.

Argentina is the world’s largest exporter of soy oil, the second largest of corn and third of soybeans. Bunge was the country’s largest exporter of edible oils in 2009, according to a report by JJ Hinrichsen SA, a Buenos Aires-based researcher.

Argentina’s tax agency last month said that four of the South American country’s 10 biggest exporters and cereals and soybean processors underpaid taxes. The agency didn’t name the companies in the report, which was published on its website.

Bunge, based in White Plains, New York, rose 7 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $57.52 at 3:18 p.m. in New York.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rodrigo Orihuela in Buenos Aires at rorihuela@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Saponar at rsaponar@bloomberg.net

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