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Nokia 'astonished'

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Nokia has responded with astonishment to the attempt by the North Rhine-Westphalia Bank and local government to reclaim subsidies given to the mobile phone maker in 1999, claiming they invested more money and created more jobs than the subsidy demanded - even though they've now closed the factory.

Nokia reckons it received a total of €41.3m from the bank, compared to its own investment of more than €350m, and employed an average of 3,200 people at the site. Its commitment was to keep 2,860 in work for the money.

Nokia's figures only cover from 2001 to 2007, while the deal was made in 1999, so those first two years could drag the total down. Nokia also admits that a proportion of those employed weren’t working for Nokia directly, so there's some room for debate there too.

The mobile phone monolith does point out, rather snottily, that it paid just as much in tax as they received in subsidy, though what bearing that has on the agreement isn't clear.

It's also saying it's keen to discuss the issues with both the bank and local government, while making clear that it has no intention of returning the money. Right now all this is sabre-rattling - it remains to be seen who backs down first or if both parties have the nerve to take it to court. ®

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