The size of the stash of cash kept in overseas banks has long frustrated the Italian tax authorities.
Now with the tax amnesty extended until April because of a rush of late disclosures the authorities say they have so far successfully retrieved 80 billion euros in taxes lost abroad, or an enormous five percent of GDP.
Finance minister Giulio Tremonti says it is about time:
“We have observed a phenomenon of a build-up of demand for repatriations, in the end very fast which exceeded the ability to cope with demand by those dealing with it.”
The opposition has been against the amnesty from the start, claiming it is a gangster’s charter that allows the mafia to escape prosecution and make use of vast illegally-earned funds.
Most Italian tax dodgers use Swiss banks, and the amnesty has caused a row between the countries, with some Swiss banks accusing the Italian government of intimidating their clients.