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Lazio expenses scandal may threaten Berlusconi comeback

Lazio expenses scandal may threaten Berlusconi comeback
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A scandal involving embezzlement of public funds at Lazio regional council in Italy could prompt a wider investigation, with authorities going through financial records in Campagna, Naples.

Lazio governor Renata Polverini is refusing to resign, after accounts reveal the council has spent
six million euros in two years.

In the middle of the Lazio debacle is former councillor Franco Fiorito who is accused of illegally
funnelling 800,000 euros of public funds into 12 different bank accounts.

Fiorito claims he was pressed into approving expenses of 100,000 euros for officials already taking home a 13,000 euros a month salary.

The scandal in Lazio comes as a video has emerged showing an extravagant toga party thrown by another councillor in the same region.

Carlo de Romanis’s decadent celebration was held in 2010.

Romanis says he paid for the party out of his own pocket, but the event is playing into the popular image of indulgent local officials – an especially tough pill for ordinary Italians struggling with austerity.

The debacle also brings into focus former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and his attempt at a political comeback at the next election, as both Polverini and Fiorito are with his party.

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