(ANSA) - Rome, February 16 - The head Italy's audit court on
Thursday sharply criticised the level of respect for law and
order in the country, especially when it comes to paying taxes.
"Lawlessness, corruption and malfeasance are phenomena that
are still largely present in the country," said President of the
Court of Auditors Luigi Giampaolino in a speech inaugurating the
judicial year. "Their dimensions far exceed what is often
painstakingly brought to light".
Giampaolino, a former watchdog for the public works sector,
pointed out there was a tax gap of 36% on value added tax (VAT)
"That is by far the highest among big European countries,
with the exception of Spain".
With cash needed to balance the budget by 2013 and
emerge from the debt crisis, Premier Mario Monti has launched a
drive against tax cheats, who he recently said "are giving
poisoned bread to their children".
Giampaolino said 2011 will go down in history for the
"severity of the economic situation and the anxiety with which
governments have pursued the remedies required to deal with it
and contain the most devastating effects".