BNP Paribas loses UK tax avoidance case worth £35 million

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French banking giant BNP Paribas has lost a tax avoidance case that could see it pay back £35 million to UK authorities.

It comes after a tribunal ruled in favour of HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), which said the lender had tried to use a tax avoidance scheme known as "dividend stripping" that kept £35 million from UK taxpayers.

The bank is accused of trying to claim an exemption from tax by generating an artificial loss on the purchase and sale of dividends, without getting rid of the underlying shares.

Commenting on the ruling, Penny Ciniewicz, HMRC's director general for customer compliance, said: "Tax avoidance doesn't pay.

"This decision adds to the comprehensive run of wins by HMRC in which the courts have found against the small minority of taxpayers who seek to avoid tax.

"Increasingly, companies and individuals who have tried to avoid tax are throwing in the towel and paying the tax they owe."