Corruption probe strikes Italian tax-collection agency
29 raids in Equitalia probe, five under investigation19 September, 11:45
Finance police conducted 29 operations in Rome, Genoa, Latina, Genoa and Venice, targeting documents in the offices of Equitalia and Italian social security INPS, as well as in the homes of the people under investigation.
Police searched the homes of Equitalia former regional director in Lazio and the agency's current boss in Liguria, among others.
Investigators are probing whether financial breaks were given to certain businessmen and professionals, such as granting installment plans for taxes owed even in cases where requirements for easier treatment were not met, and fudging social security contribution records.
Investigators claim that in some cases debts were fictitiously reduced to permit installment payments; that in other cases, liens on real estate were held off; and that payments were sometimes recorded when none actually occurred.
''Equitalia is already collaborating with the investigators,'' the agency said in a statement.
The agency added that it ''remains on hand to provide all the documents and information necessary''.