Business, Finance & Economics

Marco Cuccagna, head of Italy's tax collection agency, received mail bomb from anarchists


Police officers stand outside the gate of Italian tax collection agency Equitalia after a letter bomb exploded in its central office in Rome, injuring director Marco Cuccagna.


Filippo Monteforte

Marco Cuccagna, the director of Italian tax collection agency Equitalia, was hospitalized on Friday after a mail bomb sent to him by an anarchist organization detonated in his office in Rome, Reuters reported

The package included a note signed by the group, Federazione Anarchica Informale (Informal Federation of Anarchy), the anarchists who claimed responsibility for the letter bomb sent to Josef Ackermann, the CEO of Deutsche Bank, on Wednesday, AFP reported. That bomb was intercepted before reaching its target. 

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Cuccagna lost part of his finger and injured his eye after the bomb shattered his glass desk. He underwent an operation to remove shards of glass from both his eyes, AFP reported. 

Investigators were searching for a third bomb after German state police said the group had referred to "three explosions against banks, bankers, ticks and bloodsuckers" in their message, AFP reported. There were reports that both letters had been mailed from Milan. Francesco Tagliente, Rome's police chief, said the bomb could have arrived at the tax collection offices as early as Tuesday, Reuters reported. 

Equitalia has become widely unpopular in Italy, where tax evasion is rampant. The organization has been accused of making mistakes with regular taxpayers, the AFP reported.

"We are all in shock but we will continue to work even more for the good of Italy and in favor of those who pay their taxes," Attilio Befera, Equitalia's chairman, told reporters. 

The Informal Federation of Anarchy has sent several mail bombs in the past: the organization was responsible for two parcel bomb attacks against the Swiss and Chilean embassies in Italy before Christmas last year, which injured two people. In 2003, they also attempted to mail bomb then European Commission president Romano Prodi, Reuters reported. 

Italy's Prime Minister Mario Monti issued a statement expressing "solidarity" and defending the activities of Equitalia, as his government prepared to institute a series of painful tax increases and pension reforms.

"Equitalia has always carried out and is continuing to carry out its duty in full respect of the law," Monti told AFP. "It is essential for the functioning of the state, without which it would be impossible to provide services to citizens."