Italian police uncover €1.7bn corporate fraud
Italian police have uncovered a fraud which they say has cost Italian taxpayers €1.7bn (£1.3bn; $2.2bn).
Two businessmen are accused of setting up the scheme, which used false invoices to bill the state for non-existent security, cleaning and other services.
The fraud, which dates back to 2001, involved 62 people, the police say.
In total, they have seized goods worth €100m related to the crime, including 100 properties and two firms.
In an operation that involved about 70 police officers, numerous properties were raided in the early hours of the morning in Lazio, Lombardy, Piedmont, Veneto and Sardinia.
Those involved in the fraud used shell companies to house the money.
The shell companies then transferred the funds to accounts in San Marino and Luxembourg and the Italian companies were then liquidated.