(ANSA) - Rome, October 21 - Argentine soccer great Diego Maradona was slammed Monday for a making an obscene gesture against the Italian tax man on a top-rated public TV show here.
The ex-Napoli and Argentina legend made the classic Italian 'umbrella' sign - the equivalent of a British V-sign or America's middle-finger 'flipping the bird' - at revenue agency Equitalia on Sunday-night talk show Che Tempo Che Fa after he was handed a 39-million-euro bill for unpaid taxes last week.
Equitalia called the episode "absurd" while former minister Renato Brunetta, House whip for ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party, said Maradona had been "indecent" but presenter Fabio Fazio "even more so".
Consumer group Codacons said Fazio and the RAI3 channel should be "punished" and claimed like Brunetta that Fazio had egged Maradona on.
Brunetta had a bust-up with Fazio the previous week about Fazio's salary, which the PdL whip claimed was too high, prompting many media watchers to say other RAI stars got a lot more.