ROME – Wile Pakistani politician continue to emerge as next to beggers while declaring their assets in tax returns and for political campaigns, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti has declared that he earned 1.01 million euros ($1.34 million) last year and owns 16 houses.
Monti, a former top European commissioner and economics professor, also said he had bonds and mutual fund investments worth a total of 11 million euros. The voluntary declarations by Monti and all his ministers proved so popular that curious users crashed the government's website - www.governo.it. The report also showed Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi has a Harley Davidson and Parliamentary Affairs Minister owns two small stone huts in the Alps. Monti replaced billionaire Silvio Berlusconi in November last year at the head of a technocratic unelected government with the task of rescuing Italy from the brink of financial catastrophe and reviving its economy. The figures showed the highest-earning ministers were Justice Minister Paola Severino, a top lawyer, who had an income of 7.0 million euros in 2010 and Economic Development Minister Corrado Passera with 3.5 million. Passera was formerly the head of Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo. "People who earn money and pay their taxes should not be considered sinners and should be respected, not envied," Severino said. The ‘poorest’ minister was International Cooperation Minister Andrea Riccardi who declared an income of 120,309 euros in 2011.