Nepal's ex-king seen seeking discounts in taxes

Wed Aug 12, 2009 8:15am EDT
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KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Nepal's former King Gyanendra has asked the government for a discount on thousands of dollars in unpaid property tax, as well as telephone and electricity bills, media reports said.

Gyanendra was not required to pay any taxes and the government paid his telephone and electricity bills until street protests in 2006 forced him to hand power to political parties.

A special assembly dominated by the Maoist former rebels, overwhelmingly voted to abolish the 239-year-old monarchy in May last year and turned Nepal into a republic.

Gyanendra has been living a quiet life in his private home in Kathmandu since leaving the royal palace a month later.

In remarks quoted by and other local media on Wednesday, Finance Minister Surendra Pandey said Gyanendra's secretariat had written to the finance ministry about how to pay taxes and requested for a discount.

"The government may make some special arrangements for the former king if he is willing to pay all the taxes he owes," quoted Pandey as saying.

He did not give details of the amount Gyanendra owed.

Last year, the state-run Nepal Electricity Authority said the deposed monarch and his relatives owed about $880,000 in unpaid electricity bills alone.

(Reporting by Gopal Sharma; Editing by Bappa Majumdar and Sugita Katyal)