Italy has opened an inquiry into an alleged four-billion-euro (5.8-billion-dollar) tax fraud committed by Unicredit bank through British lender Barclays, Italian newspapers reported on Wednesday.
Unicredit said that the allegations of tax fraud were “without any foundation” and that it was “surprised and disconcerted,” while a Barclays spokesman in London said the bank had “no comment at all” on the reports.
The Il Sole 24 Ore business daily said that prosecutors in Milan opened the inquiry several months ago and that tax police had already raided the headquarters of Unicredit as well as Barclays’ Italian premises.
The charge is that Unicredit used the Italian subsidiary of Barclays in a complex financial mechanism that reduced its taxable revenues in Italy. The mechanism was called Brontos, Italian newspapers reported.