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Accenture accensured for offshore tax haven

Dell dismay as Congress scuppers winning bid

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A bid led by consulting giant Accenture to administer the IT project that tracks foreigners has been halted in the United States Congress because Accenture is a foreign company that uses Bermuda as a tax haven. So says an important Congressional committee which has voted to strip the company of a lucrative contract.

Accenture, along with Dell, AT&T, Sprint and Raytheon, won the right to administer the US-VISIT project that records and tracks visitors to the USA, in a deal worth around $10bn. But the Congressional appropriations committee has voted 35-17 to strip the victorious 'Team C' of its prize. Rival bids had been tabled by two consortia led by CSC and Lockheed Martin respectively.

Accenture, naturally, isn't very pleased, and points out that it is headquartered in Illinois and pays US taxes. But members of the Congressional appropriations committee expressed outrage that the company, which spun out of the multinational Andersen Consulting in 2001, uses a complex corporate structure with a home in the tax haven of Bermuda. Accenture has 25,000 employees in the US.

Representative Rosa DeLauro, Democrat of Connecticut, who sponsored the amendment, said that "this is about leveling the playing field". Her measure prevents offshore companies from bidding for government contracts. ®

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