Italian financial police have seized a million euros worth of property from an entrepreneur who claimed to be poor in the tax department but had a Ferrari and a 12-meter boat, Italian agency AGI reported on Friday.
The 72-year-old entrepreneur, who lives near Modena in Emilia-Romagna (north), was confiscated five apartments, six life insurance policies, bank accounts, and various valuables, including luxury watches and signed paintings painters like De Chirico.
The financial police investigation brought to light the glaring gap between the income declared to the tax authorities by the fraudster over the years and the accumulation of valuable goods, some of which had been put in the name of his wife or son, to cover their tracks.
According to investigators, this tax fraud, which extended over forty years, allowed its author to lead a lifestyle out of proportion to the declared income, often at the edge of the poverty line.
Debts of 12 million euros
In total, there would be a difference of around 7 million euros between declared income and the actually accumulated wealth. The debts to the tax authorities would also amount to more than 12 million euros.
Italy, the third-largest economy in the eurozone, has been facing a serious tax evasion problem for years. According to estimates by the Ministry of Finance, this causes the state to lose 109 billion euros each year.
Despite this scourge, the Italian tax authorities have lost more than 8,000 tax inspectors in eight years, according to the daily Il Corriere Della Sera.