ROME (Reuters) – Italian prosecutors have opened an investigation into corruption allegations against a junior transport minister who serves as economic adviser to Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, judicial sources said on Thursday.
Armando Siri, a prominent member of the right-wing League party, is suspected by prosecutors of taking bribes to help companies operating in the renewable energy sector, the sources said.
Siri did not respond to requests from Reuters for comment, but was quoted by Italian newspapers as denying all wrongdoing.
The League acknowledged the investigation although it has not been officially confirmed.
“We have full confidence in Armando Siri. We hope that the investigation will be quick and leaves no shadow”, the League said in a statement.
However, 5-Star took a different stance, potentially opening up a new division in the often fractious coalition.
“If the facts were to be confirmed, it is clear that undersecretary Siri should resign from the government”, Deputy Prime Minister and 5-Star leader Luigi Di Maio said.
The investigation is led by Rome and Palermo prosecutors and concerns Siri and nine other people.
Siri is a vocal supporter of expensive tax cuts which are part of the coalition pact between the League and the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement.
In 2014, he plea-bargained a prison sentence for the fraudulent bankruptcy of a company he was president of.
(Reporting by Domenico Lusi; writing by Angelo Amante and Francesca Piscioneri, editing by Gavin Jones and Raissa Kasolowsky)