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Indian supremes demand $573m in Nokia-Microsoft phactory selloff deal

Long-drawn-out tax battle may finally be Finnished

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India's Supreme Court has ordered Nokia to hand over a $572.5m guarantee before it can give the keys of one of its biggest manufacturing facilities to Microsoft.

The order stems from a tax dispute over the plant in Chennai and upholds the verdict of the Delhi High Court, Reuters reported.

The Finnish firm originally offered to put Rs22.5 billion ($369m) in an escrow account while it fights the claims of the Indian tax authority in court, but the court told it to fork over a further Rs35 billion, which Nokia said will stop it from being able to fight the tax claims.

Nokia is trying to sell its mobile phones business to Microsoft for $7.5bn and is expecting the deal to close by the end of this month. The plant is one of the firm's largest phone-making factories and the company said it can only run it as a contractor to Microsoft for so long.

Indian authorities demanded around Rs20.8 billion ($339m) in taxes from Nokia this time last year, which could grow to a total of Rs210 billion ($3.43bn) with added liability, interest and penalties. ®

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