Raffaele Cantone, who was appointed to the role by premier Matteo Renzi in March last year, told journalists in Rome that the main cost of corruption “isn’t economic, it’s social, in that it stops the system from innovating.”
“A corrupted and closed society isn’t of any interest to companies,” he added.
In November last year, the governor of the Bank of Italy Ignazio Visco estimated that crime and corruption in Italy had cost the country an estimated €16 billion in foreign investment in eight years.
He said at the time: “Respect for the law in the financial sector is a prerequisite for a sound and prudent management of financial institutions.”
Cantone added that the assumption that eradicating corruption in Italy would solve the country’s budget deficit was wrong.
Earlier this month, Italy's Senate gave its backing to an anti-corruption bill aimed tightened controls on fraud in public administration following a wave of scandals.
The measures specifically focus on crimes made against the public administration, targeting those with mafia-type associations and who commit fraud.
The bill follows a wave of scandals involving state contracts, the latest of which led to the resignation in March of the country’s transport and infrastructure minister, Maurizio Lupi.
Although he is not under investigation, Lupi was implicated in a corruption scandal involving his department and his son.
Italy was listed as one of the most corrupt countries in Europe in Transparency International Corruption Perception Index for 2014, published last December.
By Anna Pujol Mazzini