National budget auditor investigating Italian pubcaster

ROME — Italo pubcaster RAI has never been known as a model of economic efficiency.

Now Italy’s national budget auditor, Corte dei Conti, is reportedly probing some of the most blatant cases of money-wasting at the mammoth web, which employs more than 13,000 and is known locally as “mamma RAI.”

The investigation, which was prompted by an expose filed by RAI board member Nino Rizzo Cervo, who is a former RAI journo, includes a dozen people on the executive payroll who don’t have an actual job position, two former high-ranking honchos getting severance pay of roughly $1 million each (actually a bargain compared to some U.S. bankers), and the fact that RAI regularly farms out news jobs to outside contractors when it employs the staggering number of some 2,000 inhouse journos.

This may help explain why, after almost breaking even in recent years, analysts are now expecting RAI to incur losses of more than $200 million for fiscal 2010 with RAI red ink expected to spill to more than $600 million in 2012.

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