Giovedì, 18 Ottobre 2018

PdL councillor arrested, allegedly 'bought votes from mafia'


(ANSA) - Milan, October 10 - Domenico Zambetti, an executive
councillor in the Lombardy regional government, was arrested on
Wednesday for allegedly buying votes from the 'Ndrangheta mafia
Zambetti, a member of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's People
of Freedom (PdL) party, is accused of paying two mobsters
200,000 euros for 4,000 votes (at 50 euros each) in the 2010
elections for the assembly of the region around Italy's business
capital Milan.
Milan prosecutor Ilda Boccassini said the investigation,
which led to 20 arrests on Wednesday including Zambetti's, had
showed 'Ndrangheta's ability to affect "the democracy of the
country and the freedom to vote".
She said the probe had also uncovered evidence that the
powerful syndicate, which is originally from the southern region
of Calabria but has spread to wealthier northern regions in
recent years, contaminated the vote for Milan's city council
last year.
Boccassini said Zambetti became an "asset for the mafia
organization and it demanded favours from him". An alleged
example of this was the fact that Zambetti had the daughter of
an alleged Ndrangheta' boss, Eugenio Costantino, hired by a
regional agency.
Lombardy Governor Roberto Formigoni said via Twitter that
he had relieved Zambetti of his duties because of the gravity of
the allegations.
Judicial sources, meanwhile, said three Lombardy regional
councillors have been put under investigation on suspicion of
fraud in an unrelated case.
The three are the Northern League's Davide Boni, the former
speaker of the regional assembly, and Franco Nicoli Cristiani
and Massimo Buscemi of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's People of
Freedom (PdL) party.
Zambetti's arrest and the corruption probe takes the number
of councillors in the Lombardy regional executive and assembly
who are under investigation up to 14.
They include Formigoni of the PdL who is accused of
corruption related to health contracts.
Milan Mayor Giuliano Pisapia said Formigoni should quit in
the light of Zambetti's arrest.
"After this latest development, it's not possible to go on
like this," Pisapia said.
In neighbouring Piedmont, meanwhile, police searched
regional government offices as part of a probe into suspected
graft relating to contracts for the construction of new regional
Furthermore, Vincenzo Salvatore Maruccio, the caucus head
in Lazio for the anti-graft Italy of Values (IdV) party, has
been put under investigation for allegedly embezzling half a
million euros of public money.
Wednesday's developments were part of a string of
corruption scandals that have hit various parts of Italy's
political spectrum in recent months.
The PdL was already in turmoil over the case of its former
caucus chief in Lazio, Franco Fiorito, who was arrested last
week on suspicion of embezzling public money. That case caused
Renata Poverini to resign as governor of Lazio last month.
Experts say the scandals have strengthened widespread
public disaffection with the nation's political class and
contributed to the rise of comedian Beppe Grillo's grassroots
Five Star movement, which is opposed to the present party
The Five Star movement is vying with the PdL for second
place in the polls, according to several recent surveys.

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