Tag Archives: corruption

Italians go to school to learn about corruption

The Associated Press

FLORENCE, Italy (AP) — Is helping a pal win a contract just being friendly? What’s wrong with taking the kids to the beach in the office car? And why not linger over lunch at the trattoria if things aren’t too hectic at work? These are the kinds of questions that city bureaucrats pondered recently in Florence in what has been billed as Italy’s first anti-corruption class for public officials.

Italy, the birthplace of the Mafia, is notorious for its problems with corruption — and these days it’s awash with scandals that have tainted some of its most important public works projects. But the lessons in Florence took aim at more mundane problems: the little instances of everyday corruption that many Italians don’t even recognize as being wrong.

The approach proposes to tackle corruption at its roots: a deeply ingrained mentality where friendly reciprocity can too easily cross the line into nepotism, and where tolerance, on the one hand admirable, can also mean turning a blind eye to wrongdoing. Such tendencies may not always be the driver of corruption, but can allow it to flourish.

“The issue is to make bureaucrats and citizens understand that this type of behavior is not correct anymore, you can no longer do this,” said Marco Giuri, one of the teachers of the course. “Because in our mentality, it’s not corruption, it’s just help. It’s not that you are paying for a service, but it’s simply a favor between contacts, a relative, or the fact that he’s a friend. These occurrences are the most common and they are the ones the law wants to break through — and it’s common because it’s really in the DNA of Italians.” [Full Story]

Italian police seize falsely labeled wine bottles

The Associated Press

ROME (AP) — Italian investigators said Thursday they seized 30,000 bottles of falsely labeled premium wine from central Italy, after savvy consumers who realized that the Brunello di Montalcino they were sipping turned out to be “normal table wine” alerted authorities of the fraud.

With a bottle of Brunello going for around 30 euros ($40), the fraud is estimated to be worth hundreds of thousands of euros (dollars), said Col. Marco Grandini of the Siena branch of the Carabinieri military police.

During a three-month investigation, authorities staked out restaurants, wine bars and grocery stores in central Italy which carried the suspect wines. Along with about 10,000 bottles of Brunello di Montalcino, there were also impostors carrying premium labels such as Chianti Classico and Sagrantino di Montefalco. A Sangiovese wine bore opera singer Andrea Bocelli’s label.[Full Story]