Just hours after the unveiling of $1.35bn luxury hotel development in Sardinia backed by developer Qatar Holding, Italian tax police seized the plans, say local media.
On 30 January Alberto Ragnedda, Mayor of the town of Arzachena on Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda, and representatives of Qatar Holding, unveiled the one-billion-euro scheme to build four luxury hotels.
The plan, according to regional news portal ANSAmed.info, included an aquatic amusement park, an electric go-kart circuit, an academy to train tourism managers, plus related infrastructure improvements.
"It is an important investment that bets on culture and on local education," said Mayor Ragnedda. "It will create opportunities not only for Sardinians, but will attract students from around the world."
The project, which was presented by architect Tonino Fadda for Qatar Holding, is to be debated with environmental experts to make sure it doesn’t violate Sardinia’s environmental regulations, ANSAmed reported.
"The landscape regulations won’t allow us to build the project 100%, but we believe there are alternative procedures involving talks at the municipal, regional, and ministry levels," Ragnedda told reporters at the launch, according to ANSAmed.
Then just a few hours later ANSAmed reported that Italian tax police had taken copies of the technical plans from the Porto Cervo offices of Sardegna Resorts, the headquarters of the company under which Costa Smeralda operates.
ANSAmed said the daily paper La Nuova Sardegna reported that the tax police were "studying the documents for an investigation under wraps for the moment".