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Essar Group Seeks $883 Million Refund From Vodafone, WSJ Reports

Essar Group wants Vodafone Group Plc to refund the $883 million that it withheld to pay Indian authorities as a tax when the U.K. phone operator bought a 22 percent stake in Vodafone Essar Ltd., the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Two of Essar’s Mauritius-based units will apply for the refund within months, the newspaper reported. Essar Communications Ltd. and Essar Com Ltd. sold their 22 percent stake in Vodafone Essar to the British company for $3.32 billion, as part of a larger deal in which Vodafone bought Essar’s total 33 percent stake in Vodafone Essar, the Journal said. The company is now called Vodafone India Ltd.

India’s Supreme Court ruled yesterday that Vodafone doesn’t have to pay the government $2.2 billion in taxes for its 2007 purchase of Hutchison Whampoa Ltd.’s India operations.

Manish Kedia, a Mumbai-based spokesman for the Essar Group, declined to comment.

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