Italian ports become no-go areas for super rich yachters as taxman tries to take his share

Thousands of wealthy yacht owners are fleeing Italian shores to escape a tax evasion crackdown

Prime Minister Mario Monti launched a campaign six months ago against suspected tax evaders targeting upmarket ski-resorts in the Alps and the Dolomites.

But now he has waged war on the country’s marinas by hunting down owners of luxury yachts in an attempt to tackle Italy’s €1.9 trillion debt crisis.

It means as many as 30,000 yachts have fled to safer shores in the hope they will not be caught including Corsica, Cote d’Azur, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro and Greece.

Owners of expensive boats are notoriously known to declare only a small income, or none at all.

But Assomarinas, the Italian Association of Marinas, says the mass exodus has cost the industry €200 million in lost revenue.

Roberto Perocchio, president of Assomarinas, told The Telegraph: ‘We’ve lost 10 to 15 per cent of our regular customers.

‘This is the worst crisis in Italian boating history. The authorities are using scare tactics and creating a climate of fear.’

A new tax of up to €700 a day on large yachts in Italian ports was introduced in December.

However, the government backed off slightly in March by deciding to exclude foreign-owned boats.