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Wal-Mart Loses Bid to Seal Documents in Tax Dispute

A North Carolina state judge rejected an attempt by Wal-Mart Stores to block public access to certain court documents in a tax dispute with state authorities, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday in its online edition.

Earlier this month, the world's largest retailer filed a motion requesting to have a host of future filings in the case sealed.

North Carolina's attorney general -- opposing Wal-Mart's effort -- argued there was a public interest in maintaining public access to the documents at issue, the newspaper said.

North Carolina's attorney general is challenging a Wal-Mart tax-cutting structure involving real-estate investment trusts (REIT), the Journal said.

The retailer transferred ownership of its stores to various in-house REITs and then cut its tax bill by taking deductions for rental payments which never left the company, the Journal said, adding that Wal-Mart defended the strategy as proper.

Wal-Mart declined to comment.

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