Italy tax collectors took millions for parties, yachts, police say
The head of an Italian tax collection agency and four employees were arrested yesterday on charges of pocketing around €100 million from the money they gathered and spending it on private planes, parties and yachts.
The news will infuriate Italians who have had to dig deep to pay higher taxes, imposed to rein in the country’s massive debt, while watching a succession of scandals involving the misuse of public funds.
Tributi Italia collected local taxes under contract for 400 town councils, but finance police in Genoa said the agency’s boss, Giuseppe Saggese set up a system to siphon funds into the agency’s own bank accounts.
The money was used to pay for “private planes, yachts, expensive cars, luxury holidays, extravagant parties and music concerts,” said the force in a statement. Saggese himself pocketed at least €20 million, it added.
Mario Monti’s technocrat government is trying to crack down on tax evasion.
Resulting tough measures adopted by collection agencies have created widespread resentment.