Italian MPs protest possible changes to Monopoly board

AFP, ROME

Sun, Aug 25, 2013 - Page 6

A group of Italian lawmakers has written a joke protest to the US

over rumors that the new version of Monopoly will not have a jail — perhaps mindful of former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s ability to dodge prison.

The seven MPs from the center-left Democratic Party wrote a formal letter to US ambassador to Rome John Phillips, even though the popular table game’s producer, Hasbro, has said there will still be a jail.

They said the new version would be “un-educational,” also protesting the replacement of the game’s traditional property deals with trading in brands which has been confirmed by the company.

“There has been a shift from property purchases to stock market speculation,” the MPs wrote, saying that the new version of Monopoly “extols the turbo-economy that triggered the financial crisis of 2008.”

They said “the relevant authorities” should take action against the new game, adding that it ran counter to the “realism and wisdom” shown by US President Barack Obama in pursuing financial crimes.

Monopoly has been sold in Italy since 1935.

The jail reference carries a particularly strong resonance in Italy’s current political climate.

A court this month upheld a four-year prison sentence for Berlusconi for tax fraud, which has been automatically reduced to one year under an amnesty and will be commuted to house arrest or community service because the ageing playboy is over 70 years old.

The billionaire former prime minister is appealing a one-year prison sentence for publishing a confidential wiretap to damage a political rival and a seven-year sentence for having sex with an underage prostitute and abuse of his official powers.