• Italy's news in English

Italy still one of Europe's most corrupt countries

The Local · 3 Dec 2014, 11:38

Published: 03 Dec 2014 11:38 GMT+01:00

Showing no improvement on last year, Italy was ranked alongside Bulgaria, Greece and Romania out of 31 EU and western Europe nations in the Corruption Perception Index, based on expert opinion.

Globally, Italy came in 69th place out of 174 countries; being viewed as equally corrupt as Brazil, Senegal and Swaziland.

Scandinavia is perceived as the least corrupt part of the world, with Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway taking the top five spots alongside second-place New Zealand.

Valentina Rigamonti, Transparency International’s senior regional coordinator for Europe, told The Local that few improvements have been made in the past two years.

She drew on Milan’s Expo trade fair, being probed for contract rigging, as a high-profile example of the country’s corruption problem.

But Italy does have “very good legislation”, she said, such as the 2012 Severino law which was used to ban Silvio Berlusconi from office after a tax fraud conviction.

The government, however, needs to up efforts to implement existing anti-corruption laws, while new measures are also essential.

Rigamonti highlights Italy’s notorious statute of limitations, under which crimes “expire”, as a key area to work on. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said last month the law needed to change, after the conviction of a Swiss billionaire over thousands of asbestos deaths was overturned.

“The strengthening of whistleblowing legislation” is also a key ask from Transparency International.

“At the moment the whistleblowing rules are stronger in the private than public sector, but there is no legal protection,” Rigamonti said.

In a timely example of the reality behind Italy’s dismal score, the country’s financial police on Wednesday revealed a “cash for exams” scam at Rome’s largest university.

Story continues below…

La Sapienza University’s architecture faculty is under investigation for handing out fake traineeship certificates, course credits and exam results in exchange for money. Those involved in the scam face charges including extortion, abuse of office and embezzlement.

The index also comes a day after authorities announced a probe into a mafia-type organization at Rome’s city hall. Former mayor Gianni Alemanno and ex-terrorist have been put under investigation, while €200 million worth of assets were seized by police.

READ MORE: Ex-Rome mayor in city hall mafia probe

For more news from Italy, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Ex-boyfriend of Rome student found burning to death probed
Prosecutors in Rome have opened a murder investigation. Photo: The Local

The student's burning body was found by her mother in the early hours of Sunday.

Italy hunts for more foreign directors in museum shake-up
A new director is wanted for the Roman ruins at Ostia Antica, among other sites. Photo: Sergio e Gabriella trentanni/Flickr

Do you fancy overseeing one of Italy's top cultural sites?

Migrant who survived boat wreck drowns in Italian lake
The migrant died after diving into Lake Sirio in Piedmont. Photo: Ilaria Coradazzi

A 24-year-old from the Ivory Coast who survived a shipwreck in the Mediterranean has drowned in a lake in northern Italy.

Dozens of kids die as boat tragedies claim up to 700 lives
A bout of good weather as summer arrives has kicked off a fresh stream of boats attempting to make the perilous crossing from Libya to Italy. Photo: Gabriel Buoys/AFP

A week of shipwrecks in the Mediterranean culminated on Sunday with 700 migrants feared dead and survivors giving harrowing testimony of dozens of small children drowned.

Dozens missing in fresh migrant shipwreck: rescuers
Dozens more migrants are reported missing after a fishing boat sank on Friday. Photo: AFP

The Italian coastguard is searching for survivors after an overloaded fishing boat sank off the coast of Libya.

'Racist' Chinese ad causes outrage...but Italy did it first
Screengrab: Qiaobi/YouTube

A TV advert for a Chinese laundry detergent has been widely condemned, with commentators saying it’s the most racist ad to ever be screened. But hang on, a similar one was made in Italy...

Alicia Keys to sing live at Milan Champions League final
Alicia Keys will become the first person to sing live at a Champions League final. Photo: Stephen Brashear/Getty Images/AFP

The final will be held at Milan's San Siro stadium on Saturday.

Crew who sunk with WWII sub 'wanted to be found': relative
The wreck of the P311. Photo: Massimo Domenico Bondone

People were stunned by the discovery of a body-filled, Second World War-era submarine off the coast of Sardinia earlier this week, not least Paul Denison, who told The Local his great-uncle was among the 71 who perished on board.

Man can pay ex-wife's alimony with pizza, Italian court rules
A court in Padua has ruled in favour of a divorced father who pays alimony to his ex-wife in the form of pizza. Photo: Erich Ferdinand/Flickr

Every family's needs are different...

Iconic photos of Hiroshima horror go on show in Rome
Ken Domon at work. Photo: Wikimedia commons

It is the first time the works have gone on display outside Japan.

Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Did a Nazi official save Ponte Vecchio from destruction?
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
How the brutal murder of an anti-mafia hero altered Sicily
These are the best beaches within easy reach of Rome
Why Italians are falling out of love with the EU
Business & Money
Foreign, female and a self-made success in arduous Italy
How Italy's richest region is feeling the migrant strain
Rome mulls 'metro museum' after new line unearths ruin
Why Italy's facing a birth rate apocalypse
Why talk of barriers is opening up old wounds in South Tyrol
Huge Roman villa found under Amalfi church set to open
Two men kicked off plane in what captain calls 'racist act'
Meet the expats making a career out of Italian food
'Staying single is why I'm the world's oldest person'
Where can you find the best beaches in Italy?
The ultimate guide to the insanity of driving in Italy
Eight of Rome's most tantalizing foreign food gems
Migrant arrivals in Italy top 30,000 for 2016: navy
Italy’s deadliest earthquakes over the last 100 years
US passports now need six months validity for Italy
Six incredible ways Italy profoundly changed my life
jobs available