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Ukraine Tax Police Open Probe Against Bunge’s Odessa Subsidiary

Ukraine’s tax police opened a criminal probe against top managers at Bunge Ltd.’s subsidiary in the former Soviet republic, accusing them of tax embezzlement, company spokeswoman Yulia Matviychuk said.

The tax inspection unit searched White Plains, New York-based Bunge’s DP Suntrade’s branch in Odessa on Aug. 28, seizing documents, computers and employees’ personal belongings, Matviychuk said in an e-mailed response to Bloomberg questions. Suntrade is a grain exporter and producer of sunflower oil.

The tax police accused Suntrade of signing false contracts with two companies that are suspected of phony business operations and tax embezzlement. Bunge denies any wrongdoing, saying all operations were done “in strict” compliance with national laws, while sunflower seeds it bought from the two companies were processed and the oil was exported, she said in the statement.

“We are surprised by the tax police decision opening a criminal probe and to search DP Suntrade’s offices, while the company itself provided police with all the necessary documents it demanded,” Matviychuk said. “Such police acts have a negative impact on the company’s operation and don’t help improve the investment climate in Ukraine.”

Bunge appealed the tax police decision at the prosecutor’s office and in court, she said.

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