Rome

Idem to meet with Premier Letta over tax evasion allegations

Minister says controversy a 'massacre'

Idem to meet with Premier Letta over tax evasion allegations

Rome, June 24 - Equal Opportunity and Sports Minister Josefa Idem is set to meet with Italian Premier Enrico Letta and may resign on Monday over allegations she evaded taxes. Idem told the daily paper Corriere della Sera that she would leave the premier to decide, but that the accusations were pretentious and a "massacre", creating the climate of a "lynching". The retired international athlete and Olympic canoeing gold medalist said that she had made an innocent mistake and was not trying to cheat the system. "I insist on being believed...I am not a trickster," she said. According to media reports, she maintained two residences in the Ravenna area, one apparently fitted out as a commercial gym, but avoided paying all the relevant taxes. Idem told the daily that she had presented the proper documentation two years earlier but that the procedure to incorporate the correct application of taxation for the properties had gotten stuck in a bottleneck. "The press said that I am being investigated. They will tell me what for. I'm thinking that there might also be an investigation into how my personal data and confidential documents from the town hall ended up in the newspaper," she said." "All of this is simply absurd. From one week to the next I have gone from a respected person to a criminal," said German-born Idem, who won five Olympic medals as a sprint canoeist including the gold she won in Sydney in 2000.

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