|Assets of Bulgari billionaires seized in tax evasion investigation
Italian financial police said they sequestered assets worth 46 million euros owned by executives at the luxury label Bulgari, the jeweler to Hollywood stars. The company has stores in Hong Kong and Hilary Swank was on hand in January for its flagship store re-opening.
The action concerned bank accounts, insurance policies, shareholdings and real-estate, a police statement said, AFP reports.
The assets belong to Paolo, 75, and his brother Nicola Bulgari, historic shareholders in the company, along with its current boss Maurizio Valentini and his predecessor Francesco Trapani.
Trapani is the nephew Paolo and Nicola.
The four have been accused of avoiding Italian taxes via fraudulent declarations of about three billion euros in sales through companies based in the Netherlands and Ireland.
Paolo and Nicola Bulgari, the great-great grandsons of Greek silversmith Konstantinos Voulgaris, sold the company to LVMH, the French luxury giant, in 2011.
Sotirios, the grandson of Voulgaris moved the company to Italy and used the latin form of his surname, Bulgari, also written as Bvlgari,
Funds involved in the plan were also allegedly transferred through companies that the four accused controlled in Switzerland, the Italian police said.
They added that Ireland is “the only country that is not considered a tax haven which also has a light tax rate of 12.5 percent.''
When reports emerged more than two months ago that Bulgari was under investigation, Trapani, who ran the company for almost 30 years, said “it always respected fiscal rules in Italy and abroad.’’
Claiming that Bulgari has been the target of “dozens and dozens of fiscal controls,'' Trapani had then called the police charges “grotesque and unfounded’’ and maintained that the controls had always cleared the company of any wrongdoing.