Police look into exam racket

August 4, 2006

Italy's university system has been rocked by yet another corruption scandal. Police are investigating what they suspect was a racket for the purchase of exam passes at the University of Bari's faculty of economics.

Ten administrative staff are now under investigation on suspicion of corruption. Two lecturers are also suspected of corruption, while a third is being questioned about "making false statements".

The investigation comes after eight months of surveillance during which telephones were tapped and video footage collected.

Police identified more than 20 students who paid to pass exams. They estimate that payments totalled about €50,000 (£34,000) over more than eight months. Each exam pass cost between €500 and €3,000.

According to the public prosecutor, who is heading the investigation, most students were put under pressure to pay and were, in effect, victims of the racket. They were allegedly told that unless they paid up they would never pass a certain exam.

According to the prosecutor, others were aware of the payoff system and took the initiative themselves. Six students could be charged with complicity in corruption.

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