Italian finance minister Guilio Tremonti is under pressure for cash payments he made to a former aide currently under investigated for corruption, Reuters reports.
Tremonti paid €1,000 ($1430) a week in cash to rent a luxury apartment from Marco Milanese.
Tremonti’s cash payments were less than half the market value of the apartment.
RTE reports that paying rent in cash is a widespread practice to avoid paying taxes in Italy, though Tremonti denies that this is the reason why he paid for the apartment in cash payments.
Tremonti spoke on Italian television in his defence:
“Yes, I have made mistakes, the only excuse is that I’ve worked a lot. I have a job that is very difficult and involves a lot of effort, and I want to continue doing it, as best I can, in the interest of my country.”
The news comes just weeks after Tremonti’s disputes with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi caused speculation that he would leave his position and triggered a sell-off in Italian bonds.
Silvio Berlsusconi said about Tremonti that “you know, he thinks he’s a genius and that everyone else is stupid. I put up with him because I’ve known him for a long time and one has to accept the way he is. But he’s the only one who is not a team player.”
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