Company exec 'stunned' by inversion 'misinformation'

A senior official at a pharmaceutical company in the process of shifting its legal address abroad struck back at President Obama and other politicians he said were giving the public “misinformation” about so-called inversion deals.

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Robert Coury, the executive chairman of Mylan, said he was “stunned” that Obama and other policymakers had labeled companies seeking to reincorporate abroad unpatriotic or “corporate deserters.”

In a USA Today op-ed published Wednesday, Coury wrote those were “serious charges to level against companies that, even after inverting, will employ tens of thousands of Americans, play a vital role in the U.S. economy and pay significant taxes on U.S. income.”

Coury said that all of Mylan’s competitors were either started abroad or had already moved their corporate address to a different country, and compared his company’s move to members of Congress choosing to live in Maryland or Virginia, rather than Washington, for tax reasons.

If Mylan didn’t follow suit, Coury argued, it could be forced to downsize its U.S. workforce or even eliminate all of its operations here.

Mylan will be based in the Netherlands after its planned merger, but will still pay taxes on its U.S. operations. Its planned inversion deal has engendered even more controversy because the company’s chief executive, Heather Bresch, is the daughter of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).

Democrats have pushed legislation that would essentially still count Mylan as American for tax purposes, even if it went through with its acquisition of part of Abbott Laboratories.

Republicans have said that the problem can only really be solved through a broader overhaul of the tax code, leading Obama to say that he’s considering taking administrative action to make inversions less desirable.

In his op-ed, Coury said lawmakers should tamp down the rhetoric and get to work on tax reform.

“As sad as it is to hear people carelessly throw around words such as ‘unpatriotic’ to describe our company, it would be sadder still to see our facilities in the U.S. boarded up because we were acquired by or unable to compete with companies that benefit from a more competitive tax structure,” he wrote.

“Patriotism is defined as having great love for your country,” Coury added. “We do love this country — enough to fight for the jobs that are in it and push for the changes that are needed to save the American dream.”  

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