Some allegedly corrupt Italian officials recently had the bright idea of keeping their bribe records on edible paper that could be quickly swallowed in the event of a police raid, but in spite of all that planning Venice is now facing a massive bribery scandal after police discovered the uneaten documents late last week.
According to The Local, Venice police raided the home of the parents of an official overseeing the construction of a €5.5 billion flood barrier designed to protect the city from rising sea levels. The flood barrier has been under construction since 2003, but setbacks and delays have pushed the project back so it is not expected to be completed until 2016. At the home of the official’s parents, police uncovered extensive documentation of all the officials and politicians allegedly getting tens of thousands of euros in bribes for construction projects. The records were kept on edible paper with the idea that if the police showed up, someone could just quickly eat the papers to destroy the evidence.
An earlier police wiretap had recorded a different official saying, “"Write it on different paper. Edible paper. You can swallow it if someone arrives one day. I'm not joking."
The advice was taken, but apparently nobody got to swallowing the documents in time. Police are now in possession of the papers, which clearly spell out the officials’ names and the amounts of the bribes received. Investigators said there was documentation for millions of euros in bribes, which likely were used for illegal party financing.
The Local reports 35 people have been arrested in the scandal so far, including Venice mayor Giorgio Orsoni.