• Italy reviewing whether P&G routed revenues through Swiss unit
  • P&G among several U.S. companies facing European tax probes

Procter & Gamble Co. is under investigation by Italian authorities looking into whether the world’s largest consumer-products maker routed revenue through Swiss and other units to avoid paying taxes in the country, according to two people familiar with the probe.

The investigation, which is at an early stage, is focused on whether the company has used units such as Geneva-based Procter & Gamble International Operations SA to avoid taxes in Italy, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the review isn’t public.

Cincinnati-based P&G is the latest American company caught up in a European tax probe. Apple Inc., Google Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. have all been investigated by European Union or national tax authorities over how they move revenue through the continent.

“P&G’s policy is and has always been to comply with the letter and the spirit of the law everywhere we do business,” the company said in a statement. “We are cooperating fully with the authorities in this particular case and do not have further information to share at this time.”

April Raids

Italy’s finance police started searching P&G offices in Rome in April, the people said. The size of the alleged underpayments hasn’t been quantified yet, the people said.

An official with the Italian police declined to comment. A spokesman for the Swiss Federal Tax Administration declined to comment when asked if the agency is looking into the matter.

While EU probes of Apple and Amazon.com have generated more headlines, Italian officials have been actively investigating U.S. companies.

In January, Google was put under investigation for allegedly underpaying taxes totaling about 250 million euros ($277 million) between 2009 and 2013. The amount is about 20 percent of sales the U.S. company generated last year in Italy, three people familiar with the case said at the time.

Apple paid 318 million euros to settle an Italian tax claim last December, a person familiar with the matter said at the time. Amazon.com has also faced tax allegations in the country.

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