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Ministry of Economy and FinanceSTATEMENT BY THE STATE GENERAL ACCOUNTING DEPARTMENT

Press Release N° 125 of 08/08/2008

With reference to the assessment given by the Court of Accounts (Corte dei Conti) of the Lazio Region, the State General Accounting Department (Ragioneria Generale dello Stato), while reserving its right to conduct a more thorough analysis, would like to make the following statement.

The suspension of the payments of the financial resources for the Lazio Region due to its failure to comply with the Payback Plan was discussed during the last two joint meetings of the Technical Panel for the assessment of regional compliance and the Permanent Committee for the verification of essential aid levels (respectively held last July 29 and August 4). The meetings were attended by representatives of the Ministries, the Regional governments, the State-Region Conference and the auditing advisor.

The issue concerning the Comune of Rome - In the meeting of 29 July, the Regional government was asked to clarify its position following the information given by the press according to which the Comune of Rome was among the beneficiaries - through the Lazio regional government - of cash quotas the regional government had received as previous-year funding for the regional health service.

In this light, the regional representatives, backed by the proof of payments that had been acknowledged by the auditing advisor, clarified that the financial relations existing between the Regional Government and the Comune of Rome refer exclusively to the Region's non-health-related budget. There is, therefore, no connection between the sums due to the Comune of Rome from the Region and the sums due to the Region as funds for the regional health service.

The issue concerning the amounts due to Regional Governments - In the meeting of 4 August, the discussion focused on the amounts due to the Lazio Regional Government (estimated by the latter to be approximately € 4,900 million). As indicated in the minutes, the sum is due in two instalments:

1) Approximately € 3,200 million in additional funding: a sum, which on the basis of the existing agreement between the State and the Regional Governments signed on 23 March 2005 and between the State and the Lazio Regional Government, is subordinated to an assessment of the Region's Payback compliance. In fact:

a) Article 8 of the Agreement between the State and the Regions of 23 March 2005 sets down payback agreements of health service-related deficits, the payment procedures of funds to Regions after they have signed such payback agreements and periodical compliance assessments. In particular, comma 3, of the Agreement establishes "the suspension of the additional funding in case of failure to comply" with the terms and conditions of the Payback Plan.

b) Article 5, comma 3, of the Agreement signed on 28 February 2007 between the Lazio Region and the State foresees that - in application of the above-mentioned Agreement of 23 March 2005 and in line with what has been prescribed in similar Agreements signed by Regions that are subject to payback plans - should non-compliance occur "the additional funding is suspended". The state additional funding includes the sums to finance the national health service - sums whose payment is subordinated to regional compliance - as well as the transitory back-up fund and the state contribution for the selective balancing of deficits.

2) An estimated € 1,700 million from tax manoeuvres relating to the 2006, 2007 and 2008 fiscal years, payable - thanks to the advance payment and balance mechanism that determines tax flows in the Treasury for the 2006 and 2007 fiscal years - at the end of the current year, following the final assessment of the tax revenue for fiscal year 2006 and the posting of estimated tax revenue for fiscal year 2007 on the part of the competent Financial Department. The total sum due is approximately € 820 million. The remaining sums - also arising from the early payment-balance mechanism - are due in 2009.

In view of what has been outlined above, the Panel and the Committee have unanimously come to the conclusion that the Ministry of Finance and Economy has transferred to the Lazio Region the sums that are currently payable according to existing legislation (Agreement of 23 March 2005 and the Agreement), and is currently going ahead with the payment of the sums arising from regional tax manoeuvres, perfectly in line with what is currently being done with other Regions.

Rome 08/08/2008

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