MANILA, Philippines - The chairman of the local unit of Royal Dutch Shell Plc denied on Thursday that it had engaged in smuggling after the government said it was seeking $567 million in back payments and penalties in a technical smuggling complaint.
"We have never, ever engaged in smuggling," Edgardo Chua, Pilipinas Shell Petroleum chairman said in a television interview. "That's against our business principles."
"We are one of the biggest taxpayers in the country. This charge is totally, totally, shall we say, ridiculous."
In total, the government was seeking P24.486 billion ($567 million) from Pilipinas Shell, made up of lost revenues of P2.7 billion and penalties, which it said was a record claim. The charges were filed with the Department of Justice, which will investigate the claims.
The government said some officers, employees, and customs brokers of Pilipinas Shell had intentionally misclassified fuel imports between 2007 and 2009 and misdeclared imports between August 2005 and December 2008.