Italian tax office hit by fire bomb attack

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 05, 2012 6:44 AM
Italian tax office hit by fire bomb attack

ROME (Reuters) - A fire bomb exploded outside the offices of Italian tax collection agency Equitalia in the northern city of Verona on Friday, police said.

Another device planted in the entrance failed to explode, and was made safe by firemen after the first blast smashed glass doors at the tax office in the early hours of Friday morning, a police spokesman said. Nobody was hurt.

Equitalia offices have been the target of a series of threats and attacks this year.

The agency is widely associated with tax hikes imposed by the technocrat government of Mario Monti, who has cut spending and led a crackdown on fiscal evasion in a bid to cut public debt that has made Italy a focus of the euro zone crisis.

Tough methods adopted by Equitalia have made it a focus of ill-feeling, particularly in Italy's economically prosperous north where tax increases are apt to be seen as props for poorer and corruption-riddled southern regions.

The image of such agencies was further tarnished this week, when the head of a different tax collection agency and four employees were arrested on charges of stealing 100 million euros ($130 million) from revenue they gathered. ($1 = 0.7689 euro)

(Reporting by Naomi O'Leary; Editing by Dan Lalor)