Fastweb: 48 hours and counting…

Fastweb and Sparkle have been given 48 hours by a Rome judge to propose alternatives to the Italian broadband operators being put under court administration for their alleged role in a E2 billionn tax fraud and money laundering scam.

Silvio Scaglia, the billionaire founder of Fastweb and the investor behind Babelgum, denied any wrongdoing when questioned in custody, he was arrested last Friday. Scaglia founded Fastweb in 1999 and remains on its board of directors. The company, Italy's second largest broadband provider, was sold in 2007 and is 82 per cent owned by Swisscom.

Investigators say the alleged fraud involved services provided by Sparkle, part of the Telecom Italia group, and Fastweb to offshore companies for which invoices were issued allegedly to launder money and evade tax.

Fifty-six arrest warrants have been issued and 25 other people have been advised they are under investigation, including current executives.

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