And you thought Dolce & Gabbana‘s tax troubles were bad. Bulgari is currently under investigation for allegedly evading taxes on revenue to the tune of 3 billion euros, or $4 billion at current exchange. Today, WWD reports that Italian authorities have seized about $60 million in assets from top company executives, including chairman and vice chairman Paolo and Nicola Bulgari, the billionaire brothers whose family has helmed the brand for 128 years, former CEO Francesco Trapani, who is now President of LVMH‘s watches and jewelry division, and Bulgari lawyer Maurizio Valentini.
The allegations contend that, beginning in 2006, the LVMH-owned Roman jeweler set up “ficitious companies” in countries with more favorable tax laws than Italy, such as Ireland, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, to avoid the sky high rates in their home country. Authorities claim to have found nine pages of documents referring to a fiscal “escape strategy,” and as a part of the investigation, they have seized assets including real estate, bank assets, life insurance policies, and corporate investments from the executives involved.
Bulgari issued the following, unsurprisingly indignant, statement on the matter:
“The company is extremely surprised by the arguments deployed in such order and declares that the foreign companies at issue are real and genuine companies performing an undisputable strategic role for the group, employing about 300 employees of various profiles.”
We hope for their sake they’re telling the truth. After all, they’d have to sell about 10,526 of those diamond-encrusted Serpenti rings we covet so dearly just to pay off what’s been seized.