Italy Stewing Over Bain's Tax-Free Phone Deal

Mitt Romney's company sold phone company for $1B profit
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 6, 2012 3:36 PM CDT
Italy Stewing Over Bain's Tax-Free Phone Deal
Mitt Romney speaks in Bowling Green, Ohio.    (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Good thing Mitt Romney ducked Italy on his European tour; Italians aren't too thrilled with him right now. That's because Romney's Bain Capital played a key role in acquiring a phone-directory company from the Italian government and selling it for a $1 billion profit at the height of the Internet bubble in 2000, Bloomberg reports. What's more, Bain routed its profits through Luxembourg to avoid paying European taxes.

Bain argued in an email that its "common cross-border structure ensured that investors were not unfairly subjected to double taxation in multiple countries." But angry Italians say the sale left taxpayers holding the bag. What's more, Romney probably earned more than $50 million and was personally involved in the purchase and sale. “The government got ripped off,” said a shareholder of a company involved in the deal. “It was the beginning of the destruction of Italian industry.” (More Bain Capital stories.)

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