Umberto Bossi, the head of Italy’s opposition Northern League has quit amid allegations that taxpayer money was used to support his lavish lifestyle.
Bossi’s resignation comes after prosecutors placed the party’s treasurer Francesco Belsito under investigation over accusations of fraud and illegal party financing. Belsito allegedly used party funds to pay for renovations to Bossi’s villa and holidays for his children.
“I’m not suggesting this is a plot. But it is a coincidence that these accusations surface now against the only party in opposition to this government ahead of the upcoming election campaign,” said Matteo Salvini, a Northern League MEP.
Bossi is not under investigation and has denied using party funds for his family’s benefit. He’s been one of the most outspoken critics of the many corruption scandals that have rocked Italian politics in recent years.
The 70-year-old originally founded the Northern League to call for autonomy from what he described as the corrupt, mafia-ridden south. Bossi went on to form coalitions with all three of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s governments.
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