Pfizer is being investigated in Italy over claims it funneled more than a billion dollars in profit out of the country to skirt taxes.
Italy’s finance police believe the firm’s local branch near Rome sent $1.2bn in excess income overseas, according to people familiar with the matter.
The investigation began in February and covers 2017, 2018 and 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Pfizer is accused of transferring the cash to foreign affiliates associated with its bases in Delaware and the Netherlands.
Profits made during that time could be subject to Italy’s 26 per cent corporation tax.
Checks are currently being carried out by the finance department with Pfizer yet to be informed of their findings, sources told Bloomberg.
In a statement, New York-based Pfizer said it ‘complies’ with all laws and obligations in Italy.
Once the government uses up the doses it has already bought, Pfizer will hike the price to as much as $130 for a single dose of the vaccine which is estimated by some experts to cost just $1.18 to make.
Italy’s finance police have declined to comment, but the checks are understood to be an administrative audit rather than a criminal investigation.
Pfizer is yet to be informed of the findings.
The company said in a statement: ‘The Italian tax authorities routinely investigate Pfizer taxes, and Pfizer cooperates with such audits and investigations. “Pfizer complies with the tax laws and requirements of Italy.”