World

Italy finds 1.5 billion euros in fraud in public sector contracts out of 4.6 billion checked

Italy's financial police have released sobering statistics about the state of fraud and corruption in Italy's public sector: Of the 4.6 billion euros ($5 billion) worth of public contracts checked last year, they found 1.5 billion euros in fraud and 2.6 billion euros wasted.

The financial police released their annual report for 2014 on Wednesday, saying they had made police reports against 3,700 people for crimes against public administration.

The mafia has been known for its infiltration of public contracts in Italy, helping contribute to the country's dismal ranking on Transparency International's corruption perception list — alongside Swaziland, Senegal, Greece, Bulgaria and Romania. Recently, major anti-corruption investigations have targeted contracts for Milan's Expo world's fair, Venice's Moses underwater barrier project and the reconstruction of L'Aquila after the 2009 earthquake.