Gucci owner owes $1.6 billion in taxes
The French-owned luxury goods group Kering disclosed that it is now facing a 1.4 billion euro back taxes claim by the Italian government. A subsidiary of Kering based in Sweden has been under investigation for some time on tax evasion elsewhere, but this more recent claim focuses on the renowned fashion brand Gucci. German paper Der Spiegel reports that particular scrutiny has been paid to the transactions between Kering’s wholesale and retailers.
Italian tax police conducted searches on Gucci’s offices in both Florence and Milan in 2017, though Kering contests that final analyses have yet to be run. It is possible that all of this will result in a trial, but more could come to light when Kering releases its yearly report on Feb. 12. This is one of the few times that the new government, made up of more far-right wing parties than in recent years, has made its way into international headlines.
No-deal Brexit prevented in UK House vote
On Jan. 29, the U.K. House of Commons voted to prevent a no-deal Brexit through an amendment designed to force Prime Minister Theresa May to accept some form of deal prior to Brexit’s March 29 deadline. MPs voted 318 to 310 for the amendment that does not allow the United Kingdom to leave the European Union without some form of an agreement. This amendment was put forward because May has indicated her willingness to run out the clock and allow for Brexit to go forward without a binding agreement dictating terms.
Although the amendment is not legally binding for the U.K. government, it significantly complicates the ability of the prime minister to pursue a no-deal. The prime minister has repeatedly refused to take the option of leaving without a deal off the table, insisting that “no deal is better than a bad deal.” The deadline for the U.K. to leave the European Union remains set for March 29, 2019.
Germany announces reduction in CO2 emissions
On Jan. 26, Germany, one of the world’s biggest consumers of coal, announced that it will shut down all coal-fired power plants over the next 19 years to meet its international commitments in the fight against climate change. This announcement marks a significant shift back on course for Germany, a nation that had long been a leader on cutting CO2 emissions before hitting a slump in recent years and missing its reduction targets.
Presently, coal plants account for 40 percent of Germany’s electricity, which is a reduction from . So far, 12 of the country’s 19 nuclear plants have also been shut down. Germany will be counting on renewable energy to provide 65 to 80 percent of the country’s power by 2040, removing nuclear and coal-powered electricity from the picture entirely.