BANGKOK: Tobacco giant Philip Morris pleaded not guilty to dodging hundreds of millions of dollars in import tax to Thailand, a crime carrying a massive fine of up to US$2.27bil (RM8.87bil).
Thai prosecutors accuse the local unit of the company, which owns the Marlboro and L/M brands, of evading some US$568mil (RM2.26bil) tax by under-declaring import prices for cigarettes from the Philippines between 2003 and 2006.
In fact the duty-free end price of the cigarettes was much higher, according to prosecutors.
The company and seven Thai staff pleaded not guilty according to a written statement read out by a judge at a pre-trial hearing at a Bangkok court yesterday. — AFP