Business Irish

Sunday 17 December 2017

Italian police seize assets of Bulgari executives in tax probe

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

ITALIAN authorities have accused executives at one of the biggest jewellers in the world of tax evasion in an elaborate scheme that allegedly involves Ireland.

Italian police said they had taken control of assets worth around €46m from Bulgari executives they are accusing of tax evasion, including the head of watches and jewellery for its parent LVMH.

According to the authorities, executives allegedly moved some €3bn of Bulgari's revenue from Italy and into foreign subsidiaries, including units in Switzerland, the Netherlands and Ireland, to avoid paying higher taxes.

In a statement, Bulgari told 'The Business of Fashion' it was "extremely surprised" by the allegations as the units under investigation were "real businesses that perform an undeniably strategic role for the group".

"Bulgari will take all actions necessary to clarify its position," the firm added.

Multinationals routinely route profits from around the world through their Irish office and on to a subsidiary based in a tax haven such as Bermuda or the Cayman Islands in a perfectly legal tax avoidance manoeuvre known as the 'Double Irish'.

The most recent records available for Bulgari Ireland Limited show sales of nearly €700m to other Bulgari companies.

Bulgari jewellery has been worn by hundreds of celebrities over the years, most famously by Elizabeth Taylor.

Irish Independent

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