Westpac (ASX:WBC) has lost a court battle against New Zealand’s Commission of Inland Revenue (CIR), with the court upholding the NZ$918 million (A$753 million) fine.
But the company said it may appeal the ruling, which held that the company avoided paying taxes worth NZ$586 million on nine transactions it made between 1998 and 2002.
Westpac NZ CEO George Frazis said he was disappointed with the decision. “We have always believed that the transactions [in question] were commercially justified and complied with the law,” he said.
In 2001, Westpac sought a decision from the CIR regarding a similar transaction, and the CIR held that its actions were not tax avoidance, he added.