Profumo to stand trial for tax fraud

ONE OF THE BIGGEST NAMES IN BANKING is to stand trial for alleged corporate tax fraud.

Alessandro Profumo is accused of defrauding the Italian Revenue of €245m (£198.5m) during his time as chief executive of UniCredit, the largest lender in Italy, reports The Telegraph.

Profumo parted company with UniCredit in 2010 after a fall-out.

Some 19 others are also alleged to have been involved with the scheme, including three Barclays employees and 16 employees of UniCredit, past and present.

The case concerns an offshore arrangement called ‘Brontos’, which allowed UniCredit to record interest on bank deposits as dividends, thereby attracting a lower tax rate.

The interest on the dividends was taxed in full, but the rate in Italy is set at 5%.

Profumo, UniCredit and Barclays all vigorously dispute the charges.

“I await a public judgment confidently and impatiently as I am certain of the correctness of all my activities,” said Mr Profumo, cited in The Telegraph.

Barclays said: “Barclays continues to believe firmly that it and the individuals involved have not violated any tax or other laws in Italy, and we continue to support fully the individuals named in this matter.”

UniCredit said it was confident the trial would prove its employees “acted properly”.

On Tuesday, a judge in Milan ruled that the case would start on 1 October.

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