Minister Idem resigns over tax-evasion allegations

'Decided days ago after insults, accusations'

Minister Idem resigns over tax-evasion allegations

Rome, June 24 - Equal Opportunity and Sports Minister Josefa Idem tendered her resignation on Monday amid allegations of tax evasion. "I had already made my decision days ago after accusations and insults," said Idem after her resignation was accepted by Premier Enrico Letta. In an interview published Monday, Idem told Italian daily Corriere della Sera 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 outfitted 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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