EY says cooperating with authorities in Italy probe

MILAN (Reuters) - Accounting firm EY said on Thursday it was cooperating with Milan magistrates in an investigation into whether one of its former employees in Italy had sold it confidential government information.

“On Nov. 21 we became aware of the investigation targeting EY in Italy. We are examining it carefully and seriously and we are fully cooperating with the judiciary,” EY said in a statement, adding it was not in a position to comment further.

Italian magistrates suspect that Susanna Masi, a Treasury official and former EY employee, was paid some 220,000 euros ($260,000) between 2013-2015 in return for sensitive material, judicial sources involved in the case said on Wednesday.

The sources said the confidential material included information on planned tax reforms which could have given EY -- previously known as Ernst & Young -- an unfair advantage over its rivals.

Masi’s lawyer, Giorgio Perroni, has denied any wrongdoing by his client. [nL8N1NS5SS]

Reporting by Silvia Aloisi Editing by Jeremy Gaunt