A local government official near Milan has become the latest hate figure for Italians fed up with arrogant, corrupt politicians after he slashed the tyres of a disabled driver who dared to report him for parking his Jaguar in a disabled spot. Antonio Piazza, a member of Silvio Berlusconi‘s People of Freedom party, parked his car in the spot outside his office in Lecco for three years and was incensed when police officers finally fined him €80 (£64) and made him move his car to make space for disabled driver Giuseppe Scuderi to park his Renault.
Half an hour later, after the police had left, Piazza returned with a knife and slashed Scuderi’s two front tyres, forgetting he was being filmed by CCTV, before later repenting and offering to fix them.
The episode caps a series of scandals at local government level in Italy, stretching from Piedmont to Sicily, which have caused public faith in municipal and regional politicians to plummet – notably in the Lazio region, where the governor has resigned and a senior official in Berlusconi’s party has been arrested over embezzlement allegations.
Piazza at first tried to appeal against his parking fine, claiming he had given a lift to a disabled person, but has now grudgingly resigned from his job running a regional housing agency under pressure from his party, claiming: “I made a mistake, but there are people who behave even worse.”
As Italy’s fiscal police inspect local government accounts up and down the country in the wake of the Lazio scandal, a new report has revealed tax evasion is still endemic among Italy’s professions – finding that psychologists fail to declare 40% of their earnings, rising to 42.7% for lawyers. Italians who do pay taxes were shocked to learn of the arrest of the head of a tax-collecting agency on suspicion of embezzling €100m, some of which he spent on lavish parties in Portofino.
On Wednesday judges in Milan handed a 10-year sentence for fraudulent bankruptcy to Pierangelo Daccò, a businessman considered close to Berlusconi’s powerful governor of Lombardy, Roberto Formigoni, who is already being investigated for corruption and facing calls to resign.
The Italian media was speculating on Thursday that if Formigoni now stepped down, Berlusconi’s bid to return to power would be dealt a death blow.