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Dutch lawmaker - next step on Unilever 'exit tax' idea in December

FILE PHOTO: Unilever headquarters in Rotterdam, Netherlands August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The Dutch opposition lawmaker who proposed an "exit tax" on Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant Unilever PLC ULVR.L to prevent it from unifying its dual headquarters in London said on Thursday he will continue working on the idea into December -- after the company's unification is complete.

It was not clear whether other political parties will ultimately support the plan put forward by Green Left MP Bart Snels, which could theoretically lead to a 11 billion euro ($13 billion) tax on Unilever.

While lawmakers from several parties in Dutch parliament have expressed sympathy for the idea, The Netherlands’ Council of State, which advises parliament on the legality of bills, said on Oct. 9 the tax as proposed would violate basic principles of the rule of law.

“I look forward to answering all ... legal questions to demonstrate that this proposal complies with international laws and regulations,” Snels said in a statement. “This is serious legislation designed to end a serious form of tax avoidance.”

Unilever’s boards last week that they will push ahead with plans to unify the company, with the UK High Court due to approve the cross-border deal at a hearing scheduled for Nov. 2, and unification following on Nov. 29.

Snels said after a meeting of parliament’s finance committee that he would publish a report including questions about the proposal from other parties on Dec. 10.

Snels’ amended bill, which says the tax would apply to Unilever retroactively, will need to be reviewed again by the Council of State, then debated and approved by both houses of the Dutch parliament before it could come into law.

Reporting by Toby Sterling; editing by David Evans

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