Italian Tax Police Raid Bulgari Execs, Sieze Property And ‘Visit’ Facebook And Google

Traditionally in Italy, tax evasion has been a national sport. But a growing fiscal emergency and reduction of  government services is pressuring even the finanza-300x225 guardia_di_finanza_-_cinofili_k9_-_malpensa1 guardia_di_finanza guardia-di-finanza_(1) guardia-di-finanza-cappello_21091Italian Tax Police (Guardia di Finanza) to step up their game. High on their “to get” list are prominent corporate players with convoluted schemes to side-step taxes with foreign domiciles,etc. Bulgari is already on the hot seat but Facebook and Google also have had visits (raids?)  from Italian cops dressed much better than the nerds under scrutiny.

Via WWD: “Bulgari execs are in the headlines with confirmation that Guardia di  Finanza   seized $60 million-worth of Guardia-di-Finanza-2-300x287 800px-Guardia_di_Finanza_ATR-42property, life-insurance policies, and corporate investments belonging to Paolo and Nicola Bulgari (chairman and vice chairman of Bulgari SpA), former CEO Francesco Trapani ( Trapani,  heads parent company LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA (MC)’s watch and jewelry unit),  and Maurizio Valentini, their current legal representative, after it emerged that the jewelry brand may or may not owe $4 billion in taxes, WWD writes. The Guardia reportedly foundITALY-LUXURY-BULGARI Bulgari’s nine-page “escape strategy” using made-up businesses in the Netherlands and Ireland to sidestep paying Italian tariffs. For the last seven years. In a statement, Bulgari pointed “out that some media were informed of the procedure even before the individuals involved were notified.”800px-NH-500_Guardia_di_Finanza

Meanwhile Italian police have been carrying out checks at the Milan offices of Facebook to assess whether it regularly declared its income in Italy, an investigative source and the U.S. company said Italian officials have stepped up their efforts to collect taxes in recent months and have already 800px-Guardia_di_Finanza_Boattargeted other big corporate names such as Google to check whether they are paying their dues.

The investigative source said tax officials first went to the offices of Facebook in Milan nearly a month ago to collect documents.

“Facebook pays taxes in Italy as part of its business activity in the country and strictly complies with Italy’s fiscal rules,” Facebook said in an emailed statement. “Facebook has fully cooperated with tax police during the investigation and intends to continue to do that.”

Italian police opened a new tax probe into Google Italy last week, five years after an earlier investigation into transfer pricing. Google has said it complies with the tax laws in every country in which it operates.

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