Expo president in €1m tax evasion probe

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"No Expo" is written on the ground during a demonstration in downtown Milan on April 30th 2015. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP
16:37 CEST+02:00
Italy's financial police have seized over €1 million from the president of the Expo world fair, Diana Bracco, as part of an investigation into tax evasion and embezzlement at her healthcare company.

Concluding investigations in Milan, Prosecutor Edmondo Bruti Liberati said the €1,042,000 seized amounted to the total sum of tax evasion at the Bracco healthcare firm.

As president of the company, Diana Bracco is accused of evading her tax bill by issuing fake invoices for more than €3 million between 2008 and 2013.

The funds were allegedly used for real estate and boats used by Bracco and her husband Roberto De Silva, who died in 2012, Ansa said.

Pietro Mascherpa, president of Bracco Real Estate, is also said to be involved in the probe. Architects Marco Pollastri and Simona Calcinaghi, from the firm Archilabo, are also accused of playing a role in the scam.

Bracco’s lawyer, Giuseppe Bana, said the investigation regards business activities which are not of a criminal nature. “There wasn’t any tax fraud,” he was quoted as saying.

The investigation will come as a blow to Expo, the world fair which kicked off earlier this month following a series of financial scandals.

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There were a string of arrests last year over bribery allegations regarding construction contracts at Expo, which amounted to an estimated total of €1.35 billion.

In March Italy’s pavilion at the Milan event was revealed as being one of the numerous public works allegedly targeted by corrupt businessmen and officials. The nationwide probe led to 51 people being put under investigation and the resignation of Maurizio Lupi, Italy’s transport and infrastructure minister.

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