Automaker Toyota accused of bribery in Thai tax dispute

Subsidiary of Japan motor-vehicle maker Toyota Motor Corp. in Thailand is under investigation on charges of attempting to bribe local tax officials.

The Business Times agency reports.

Investigators established that representatives of Toyota Motor Thailand Co. Ltd. tried to bribe Thai internal revenue department officials to settle a $ 320 million tax dispute. The dispute is associated with the importation of parts for the company’s Prius hybrid vehicle.

In 2015, Thai customs accused Toyota Motor Thailand of understating taxes for Prius parts imported from overseas, as the company imported complete knocked-down kits used to assemble vehicles. In fact, knocked-down kits are subject to a reduced tax rate significantly lower than fully assembled vehicles.

For its part, Toyota officials said the company was cooperating with the investigations, but declined to comment on the tax dispute in Thailand.

Toyota is one of the biggest foreign investors in Thailand, where it makes a large range of cars, vans and pick-up trucks for the local market and for export. Thailand is Toyota’s biggest manufacturing hub in south-east Asia.