Italian regional governor arrested in graft probe

Italy's weakened centre-left political class was pushed out of national government in April general elections that returned conservative billionaire Silvio Berlusconi for a third term as prime minister.

Italian regional governor arrested in graft probe
Ottaviano Del Turco, a former Italian finance minister and current regional governor, was arrested on Monday with top aides on suspicion of involvement in a multi-million euro graft scheme, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said 35 people including Del Turco, governor of the mountainous central Abruzzo region, were under investigation for suspected involvement in fraudulent financial transactions linked to health care sector securitisations.

Del Turco did not immediately comment through his staff or a lawyer. Prosecutors said in a statement that he was being held in jail provisionally along with five other suspects. Another four suspects were placed under house arrest.

Del Turco has not been charged with a crime, but is suspected of corruption and criminal association, prosecutors said.

Del Turco was Italy's finance minister from 2000 to 2001 under centre-left former Prime Minister Giuliano Amato. He was also once a senior labour leader at CGIL, Italy's largest union confederation.

Italy's weakened centre-left political class was pushed out of national government in April general elections that returned conservative billionaire Silvio Berlusconi for a third term as prime minister.

Berlusconi has long accused prosecutors of launching politically motivated investigations against him and is pushing legislation that would give him immunity from prosecution during his term in office. He also wants parliament to approve a law that would suspend non-urgent cases for a year, something the centre-left has opposed.

Reuters
Last Mod: 14 Temmuz 2008, 15:30
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