The Italians don't play when it comes to tax evasion and financial crimes, with a special branch of the army called the Guardia di Finanza solely devoted to busting those who play with numbers. Flavio Briatore is one of the most recent big fish caught in the Guardia's net; his $22-million yacht, Force Blue, was impounded over the weekend off the coast of the Italian Riviera.
The perma-tanned Briatore keeps the yacht registered in the Cayman Islands and claims it's hired out by the week, but Italian authorities contend that Briatore spends a hefty portion of the year on the vessel. In fact, when the dawn raid was carried out, Briatore's wife and son were on board. If customs authorities can prove VAT evasion, Briatore could be on the hook for a fine of $5 million.
Given that Briatore owns and operates a $22-million yacht, he probably won't have a hard time paying the penalty. He shouldn't feel bad either way, since he joins luminaries such as Bank of America, soccer club Juventus, and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il on the list of folks nabbed by the Guardia di Finanza.
[Source: The Mirror]