Taxation – The Italian Way: Maradona Yes, Big Tobacco No

Italy’s ritual “tax farce” continues, and the new Monti Government seems to be caught up in it too.

The objective is to distract the “flock of simpleton” taxpayers from the scandalous non-payment of billions of euro of cigarette and gambling taxes. Following the fiscal vicissitudes of Valentino Rossi, of the singer Vasco Rossi, of the fashion designer Valentino and a parade of VIPs from sports and show business, the turn has come of Diego Armando Maradona.

The “Pibe de oro,” who claims to be in compliance with Italian taxation, offered 3.5 million euro, that would have been paid by his sponsors, to put an end to the tax controversy that has been going on for 25 years, but Equitalia, the government tax collection agency, and the Revenue Office want 40 million.

There was an attempt to mediate but the representatives of the State did not show up: “If they have proof of the credit they should have shown it,—the champion’s lawyers remarked—Maradona has no debt, as established by the tributary and penal judges back in 1994.”

It is not clear whether or not the “Pibe de Oro” really owes this money, however, he is already making a contribution: thanks to him, the Italian tax authorities can show their muscles to that flock of simpletons of Italian taxpayers.

Maradona has to pay taxes in Italy for the period that he played football in Italy, say Equitalia and the Revenue Agency; according to them the Argentine champion did not pay all he owed. This is vehemently challenged by his lawyers.

But let’s look at Japan Tobacco, for example; it sells cigarettes in Italy and it has never paid any taxes. Japan Tobacco makes a profit of more than 500% on the sale of its Camels and it succeeds in taking the entire amount out of the country. The tobacco giant has headquarters and offices in Italy and hundreds of representatives who regularly visit the 58,000 tobacconists of the peninsula along with an array of hostesses who frequent the local nightlife handing out free samples of its products. However, officially Japan Tobacco does not deal in cigarettes and no one dares to accuse it of having in Italy a “stable organization,” although it is evident to everyone.

Japan Tobacco does not pay a cent of taxes in Italy on its profits from the sale of a pack of Camels

Japan Tobacco does not pay a cent of taxes in Italy on its profits from the sale of a pack of Camels

If with tobacco products, the cartel of the Big Three tobacco multinationals, Philip Morris, BAT and Japan Tobacco, steal without any obstacles, an even greater party of thieves and simpletons is held in the gambling field. A year ago, Giuseppe Pisanu, president of the Anti-Mafia Commission, said: “If one suggests a two-year budget package of 38 billion euro, public opinion starts fibrillating, but if one states that criminal gambling organizations make a profit of at least 50 billion a year, no one seems to care.”

Who knows something about those 50 billion euro? Why does nobody say anything about them? Who was Pisanu talking about? Maradona, Valentino Rossi, Valentino… or was he referring to the Atlantis World Group located on the Island of St. Maarten, one of those offshore companies that have made billions of the Italians’ euro disappear with slot machines, friends of Gianfranco Fini and Amedeo Laboccetta?

Today the only person who points out that many problems would not exist if the revenue office collected what is owed from gambling is the comedian Beppe Grillo. Everybody else prefers to avoid saying things that are not “politically correct.”

The “flock of simpletons” to the rescue?

On May15th, with the special patronage of Diego Armando Maradona, a national movement against Equitalia, was presented. It has a headquarters in Naples, the management, and 186 other sections scattered throughout the country. Here citizens can find people dedicated to the aid and support of taxpayers. “We are defending all the Italian citizens; today anti-Equitalia studios are springing up to help taxpayers and explain to them how to protect their interests,” said the regional commissioner of the Green Party, Francesco Emilio Borrelli, one of the promoters of the initiative.

Let’s hope that at least they remember that the taxes that the friends of Gianfranco Fini and Amedeo Laboccetta, and the multinationals Philip Morris, BAT and JTI do not pay, are being paid that “flock of simpletons.”

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