SIR Elton John is at the centre of controversy in the European Union (E.U.) after it emerged taxpayers' money was used to stage one of his concerts.
An inquiry was launched on Thursday (11Nov10) into the use of at least $763,500 (£509,000) of E.U. funds for the star's show at the Piedigrotta festival in Naples, Italy on 11 September last year (09).
The show was paid for with public money from the E.U.'s $46 billion annual cohesion fund, reports Britain's The Times.
Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Mario Borghezio, a politician from Italy's Northern League party, is angry with officials in the Campania region who authorised the spending, insisting it was "shameful" to use money from allowances established to develop traditional music and cultural heritage.
But a former Campania tourism boss involved with planning the concert claims the funding was "absolutely legitimate".
Dario Scalabrini says, "I don't understand the problem. The E.U. has already approved the project. This money was given for the marketing of the city, and that is what we did. Just consider the number of people who stayed in Naples because of the concert... And besides, Elton John sang the Neapolitan song O Sole Mio for the first time ever. The audience was crying with emotion."