Posts tagged Italy
Posts tagged Italy
That’s because Bain Capital, under Romney as chief executive officer, made about $1 billion in a leveraged buyout 12 years ago that remains controversial in Italy to this day. Bain was part of a group that bought a telephone-directory company from the Italian government and then sold it about two years later, at the peak of the technology bubble, for about 25 times what it paid.
Bain funneled profits through subsidiaries in Luxembourg, a common corporate strategy for avoiding income taxes in other European countries, according to documents reviewed by Bloomberg News. The buyer, Italy’s biggest telephone company, now has a total market value less than what it paid Bain and other investors for the directory business.
In Italy, the deals have spurred at least three books, separate legal and regulatory probes and newspaper columns alleging investors made a fortune at the expense of Italian taxpayers. Boston-based Bain wasn’t a subject of the inquiries, which didn’t result in any charges.
The sale of the government’s directory business is “a dark chapter in the country’s privatization history, one that has hurt Italians deeply,” said Bernardo Bortolotti, an economics professor at Turin University who advised the Italian Treasury on asset sales from 2002 through 2005. “It was a mistake from the start, damaged by a lack of transparency and the use of offshore funds.”
In head-scratching news of the day:
The Rick Santorum presidential bid isn’t going so well, but it probably didn’t need this: a report from the Italian magazine Oggi, as aggregated by the Daily Beast, giving a visit to some confused and somewhat outraged communists in the old country who don’t really understand what their cousin is doing running a socially conservative campaign for leader of the free world.
Santorum has been open about his family fleeing Mussolini in the past, but Oggi notes that a great deal of their apprehension about fascism came from the fact that they were a well-known group of “red communists to the core.”
Mediaite makes an excellent distinction in their commentary: It’s important to use this kind of information as a means of getting to know a candidate or their colorful family history versus an outright attack. It’s tough to imagine Santorum warmly embracing this side of his family or their immigration story, though. Perhaps he could make an offering in the form of a sweater vest?