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Berlusconi To The Tax Evasion Rescue

Through a vote of 309-247, it looks like there are enough Italian politicians that believe the ends do justify the means to pass Silvio Berlusconi's 'pay 5% and wipe your tax record clean' plan. The economic argument is pretty convincing. With Italians playing hide and seek with €300 billion abroad, if the government hits its mark of having a third of that declared, a €5 billion euro addition to the coffers will not go unnoticed. However, the real dispute is about the appearance of allowing organized crime members to get away with tax evasion murder. But Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti says anybody who knows a thing or two about Italian criminals could tell you that these concerns are completely misplaced.

"I don't think criminals will use this tool," Tremonti said in parliament. "Criminal fortunes are either already perfectly cleaned in Italy, or they will remain abroad."

Italy Tax Amnesty Poised to Pass; Opposition Says It Aids Mafia [Bloomberg]