Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Amazon's Italy Chief Says Company Under Probe for Tax Evasion

Amazon.com Inc. is under investigation in Italy for alleged tax evasion, Francois Nuyts, Amazon’s chief for Italy and Spain, said in an interview Tuesday.

The Seattle-based online retailer is cooperating with the probe, Nuyts said. “Amazon pays all applicable taxes in every jurisdiction where we operate, including Italy, and we are cooperating fully with the Italian authorities,” Nuyts said when asked about legal and tax issues.

“E-commerce is a low-margin business, and Amazon is in a phase of heavy investment, so profits are slim," the executive said. “We are a retailer with a low-margin business and taxes are due on corporate profits. We invested over 15 billion euros in Europe in the last six years alone." He didn’t give additional details about the tax case.

Amazon is one of three U.S. technology companies that have faced tax allegations in the country. In January, Google Inc. was put under investigation in Italy for allegedly evading taxes totaling about 250 million euros ($278 million) between 2009 and 2013. The total is about 20 percent of sales the U.S. company generated last year in Italy, three people familiar with the case said in January. Apple Inc. paid 318 million euros to settle an Italian tax claim last December, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Italian news agency Ansa reported March 9 that the Milan prosecutor’s office was probing Amazon for tax evasion.

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