A senior Rome regional politician has been arrested in a widening inquiry into government corruption in the capital.
Franco Fiorito, former head of Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party, is accused of spending more than a million euros of public money to fund a lavish lifestyle.
He’s suspected of being the ringleader of a group of regional politicians facing embezzlement allegations.
Italian newspapers have carried extensive accounts of decadent “toga parties” and dinners held by politicians in Lazio, Rome’s surrounding region.
The scandal also forced Lazio president Renata Polverini to quit last week.
However, Fiorito’s arrest is being widely seen as heaping further damage on the already seriously tarnished image of Berlusconi’s centre-right PDL party, six months before a national election where Italy’s former leader will again attempt to re-enter politics.