PARIS — Kering denied reports in the French press Wednesday of alleged tax fraud under investigation by fiscal authorities in France, as relayed by the investigative news site Mediapart.
“Kering refutes in the strongest possible terms the totally unfounded allegations of the laundering of tax fraud, as published in the Mediapart article,” said the group, responding to the initial report in an e-mailed statement.
“The group has no knowledge of an inquiry being conducted into its activities, as reported in the article. Should this be the case, the group would cooperate fully with the authorities involved in any potential inquiry with complete transparency and serenity,” it continued.
According to the report, French tax authorities have investigated the group since February 2019 for a financial arrangement that allegedly allowed it to avoid paying 2.5 billion euros in taxes between 2010 and 2017, including 180 million euros in France, by declaring business in Switzerland that had mostly been generated in Italy.
Other media outlets AFP and Le Monde reported that the investigation was confirmed by someone at the country’s Parquet National Financier, without naming their source.
Kering settled a Gucci tax case with Italian authorities in May 2019 for 1.25 billion euros. The Italian Revenue Agency had investigated the company’s tax payments related to the sales in Italy of Gucci products between 2011 and 2017.
Other international companies that settled with the Italian Revenue Agency include Apple, which in 2016 paid a sum of 318 million euros, while Google paid a total of 306 million euros to regularize its fiscal position in the country in 2017.