Prodi tax records 'were spied on'
Published on 08/11/2006
Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi and his wife have been spied on for the past two years by state employees, according to a new investigation.

Milan prosecutors say tax records of the centre-left leader, who took power in April, were checked many times by a spy ring given unauthorised access.

It seems the couple's tax affairs were checked over a hundred times.

The case surfaced after the treasury noticed irregularities in the number of times records had been accessed.

Milan prosecutors say 128 people are now under investigation, including dozens of employees at the tax and customs offices and several members of the financial police.

Campaign connection?

In a statement, Mr Prodi's spokesman said the prime minister was shocked and deeply upset by the reports and said checks into the financial affairs of the prime minister and his wife had failed to find any irregularities.

Given that the checks were ordered during Mr Prodi's campaign for office, there is speculation among centre-left politicians that they may have been ordered by their centre-right opponents.

"This is a dark page in the history of our republic," said Justice Minister Clemente Mastella.

During the election campaign, Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party accused Mr Prodi of taking advantage of a law introduced by the centre-right allowing him to avoid taxes in 2003 on a gift of $1m to his two children.

The revelations are the latest in a series of scandals about illegal spying during the years of the centre-right government of Silvio Berlusconi.

Last month, police arrested a former manager and employees at Telecom Italia in a separate probe into alleged wire taps to collect sensitive information on well-known businessmen.

BBC news

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