Official quits after slashing disabled driver's tyres


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 driver’s spot.

Antonio Piazza, a member of Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party, had parked his Jaguar in the spot outside his office in Lecco for three years and was incensed when police officers finally fined him €80 and made him move his car to make space for disabled driver Giuseppe Scuderi to park his Renault.

After the police had left, Mr Piazza returned with a knife and slashed Mr Scuderi’s two front tyres, forgetting he was on CCTV, before later repenting and offering to fix them.

The episode caps a series of scandals, stretching from Piedmont to Sicily, which have eroded faith in municipal and regional politicians – notably in the Lazio region, where the governor has resigned and a senior official in Berlusconi’s party has been arrested over embezzlement allegations.

Mr Piazza at first tried claimed 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 around the country after the Lazio scandal, a new report has revealed tax evasion is still endemic among Italy’s professions: psychologists fail to declare 40 per cent of their earnings, and this rises to 42.7 per cent for lawyers. Italian taxpayers were shocked to learn of the arrest of the head of a tax-collecting agency on suspicion of embezzling €100 million, some of which he allegedly spent on lavish parties.

On Wednesday, judges in Milan handed a 10-year sentence for fraudulent bankruptcy to Pierangelo Dacco, 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 media was speculating yesterday that if Formigoni now stepped down, Berlusconi’s bid to return to power would be dealt a death blow. – (Guardian service)