Italy’s minister Passera under investigation for fiscal fraud

Corrado Passera, Italy’s economic development minister, is being investigated for alleged fiscal fraud, according to reports published today by the Italian press.

The investigation, opened in the Northern Italian city of Biella, focuses on alleged tax offenses committed in 2006 and 2007, when Passera was chief executive at Banca Intesa, and then executive director of Intesa Sanpaolo, following the merger in 2007 between Banca Intesa and Sanpaolo IMI.

According to prosecutors, illegal fiscal transactions would have taken advantage of the asymmetry between the Italian and British tax systems, and it would have been completed through Biverbanca, Biella-based local bank that was initially controlled by Banca Intesa.

The investment vehicle was set up by Credit Suisee and dubbed ‘La Defense II plc’.
Following the merger, Biverbanca was transferred to the Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS), which recently sold it to Cassa di Risparmio di Asti.

Alessandro Profumo, chairman at MPS and former chief executive at UniCredit, is also been investigated for a similar fraud.

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