Batista’s MMX struck with $1.8 billion tax fine in Brazil

MMX Mineração e Metálicos S.A., the flagship mining company of Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista, has been handed a $1.86 billion fine for unpaid taxes, the company said Tuesday.

In the statement the firm owned by the world of mining's top entrepreneur said the penalty has no legal basis.

“MMX and the company’s independent legal advisers consider the charges to be totally unfounded, understanding that at the end of the process, they should be rejected,” the company said.

Brazil’s tax agency is charging MMX an amount equivalent to nearly 80% of its market value.

MMX added the issue dates back to 2007, and relates to moves by Anglo American (LON:AAL) to rise its stake in MMX’s Minas Rio iron ore project.

In recent weeks, the government agency has slapped more than $3 billion in fines on top corporations that it says owe back taxes. For some analysts, this is nothing but an aggressive play for cash as the South American country’s government struggles to meet its budget targets.

Brazil is Latin America’s largest economy.

Batista, who owns five public companies, famously said in 2008 – when his fortune was put at $6.6 billion, ranking him at No. 142 on the Forbes list – that his goal was to become the richest man in the world in five years.

Fast forward to 2012 and he climbed 135 places to become the 7th richest person on the planet, but still a long way away from Mexico's Carlos Slim who has more than twice Batista's money.

He was born into mining and is the son of a former CEO of Vale, the world's second largest miner and iron ore titan.

Read more on 2012 Mining Billionaires: #1 Eike Batista >> >>

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