End to Vodafone's tax dispute with India seen near: FT

LONDON Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:40pm EST

LONDON (Reuters) - India's finance minister, Palaniappan Chidambaram, said he is confident that a $2.6 billion tax dispute with Vodafone (VOD.L) would be settled, telling the Financial Times that a third round of talks will be held this week.

"Vodafone has formally written to the government offering to engage senior government officials to find a way out of the problem," he said in an interview with the FT.

"I'm confident we will resolve <the Vodafone> issue," he told the newspaper.

Chidambaram said he was seeking to resolve the outstanding tax matter within the month.

Vodafone declined to comment on the FT report.

An unnamed figure close to the company told the FT that the finance minister was playing up the possibility of a deal.

On January 14, India's finance minister announced they would delay by two years implementation of controversial rules on tax avoidance to 2016 seen as a move partly designed to help solve the dispute with Vodafone.

(Reporting By Costas Pitas; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz)

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