Court throws out tax claim on British Council

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The Independent Online

Tax claims filed by the Russian authorities against the British Government's cultural arm have been thrown out by a Russian court. The Russian government had forced the closure of some of the British Council's regional offices, saying they were not legal, with tax inspectors filing claims against it. But high-level ministerial contact between the two countries has resumed and Britain sent a new ambassador to Moscow this month. "The court recognised as invalid a decision from a tax inspection in the part where it filed income tax and value-added tax claims," said a spokeswoman for the Moscow Arbitration Court. The British Council said it was satisfied with the court's decision. Relations sank to their lowest level since the Cold War after the murder of Alexander Litvinenko, a former state security agent turned Kremlin critic, in November 2006 with a radioactive substance in a London hotel.

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