Why Was Sophia Loren Arrested In The ’80s?

When Sophia Loren landed at Fiumicino airport in May 1982, she found Roman police ready and waiting for her. According to a contemporary UPI article, the actress hadn’t returned to Italy in a decade — and was now being thrown in prison.

But for Loren, her arrest didn’t come as a surprise. Her crime was tax evasion, an offense she committed in the early 1960s when 112 million lire ($180,000) of her taxable income went unpaid. By the actress’ own public admission, she hadn’t returned to Rome in years because she knew she would have to face the consequences. She’d lived abroad in France and Switzerland, disputing the tax offense as a mistake by her tax accountant. All the while, the case moved through Italian appeals court. By 1980, she was guaranteed to serve a sentence of 30 days in jail, along with a fine.

Loren begrudgingly accepted her punishment so that she could return to working as an actress in Italian films. However, she elegantly corrected the press by saying, “I have not returned to make a film, but because I love Italy.” While she called the sentence “unjust,” for Loren, it was worth it to visit her family and country once again. But this incident wasn’t the end of her legal troubles.

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