ROME — Italian politicians have pocketed at least $26 billion in bribes over the last 10 years, according to a report in the weekly magazine L'Espresso.
The magazine, citing several Italian university studies, said the bribes were made by companies and individuals seeking lucrative state contracts and other "favors."
Franco Cazzola, a political science professor at Catania University in Sicily, told the magazine: "It is an approximate figure. . . . The calculation takes account only of what has come out in the open, in court cases and the press. But you should not forget the hidden cases."
L' Espresso said more than half of the money has gone to members of the dominant Christian Democrat Party.
One study cited by L'Espresso said that in the last two years, 51 Socialist and Social Democrat politicians and administrators, 38 Christian Democrats and 15 Communists have been found guilty of bribery and corruption.