Italian officials have been ordered to pay back almost $1 million (£667,000) to the European Union (E.U.) after using the money to fund a SIR Elton John concert.
Authorities used $983,000 (£655,000) from E.U. allowances to cover the singer's fee for his performance at the Piedigrotta festival in Naples last year (Sep09).
The European Commission has ruled the spending was inappropriate as the public funds are reserved for long-term cultural projects, such as art exhibits or restoring buildings.
E.U. spokesman Ton van Lierop insists a "one-off rock concert" does not qualify, telling the Associated Press, "We have asked Italy for our money back."
Festival organisers previously defended the move, insisting the gig promoted Naples and drew over 100,000 spectators to the city.