U.S. Markets closed

Italy minister resigns over tax troubles

Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

Italian Minister for Sports Josefa Idem attends a press conference at Chigi palace, Premier's office, in Rome, Saturday, June 22, 2013. Premier Enrico Letta's cross-party government is facing one of its first major fissures as pressure mounts for the equal opportunities minister to resign over tax troubles. Josefa Idem, a German-born eight-time Olympic kayaker, has admitted that there were irregularities in the tax payments on one of her residences. She has apologized, saying she had trusted professionals to build and register the structure correctly, and said the problems were being fixed. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

ROME (AP) -- Italy's equal opportunities minister, a German-born, eight-time Olympic kayaker, has resigned over tax troubles in a case with both racist and sexist overtones.

A statement from Premier Enrico Letta's office said Josefa Idem handed in her resignation on Monday, which was accepted.

Idem was embroiled in controversy after admitting to irregularities in the tax payments on one of her residences.

The anti-immigrant Northern League party had led the charge against Idem, with one party official, Mario Borghezio, calling her a "whore."

Another local Northern League official recently suggested that another immigrant Cabinet member, Congolese-born Cecile Kyenge, be raped — an indication of the level of political discourse in Italy these days.