An Italian minister has resigned in the middle of an embezzlement trial, dealing a blow to Silvio Berlusconi’s administration.
A close ally of Italy’s premier, Aldo Brancher was only given the specially-created post last month.
His immediate claim of ministerial immunity raised suspicions that this was behind the appointment in the first place.
Today though Brancher used the Milan hearing over embezzlement in a bank takeover to reveal he was quitting the government. It comes days before he was due to face a confidence vote, called by the opposition.
Berlusconi is struggling with slumping popularity and infighting within his centre-right coalition.