Corruption scandal rocks Venice
Venice's mayor and more than 30 other people were arrested yesterday in a sweeping corruption scandal in which politicians are accused of financing election campaigns with some €25 million (US$34 million) in bribes from the consortium building underwater barriers to protect the lagoon city from flooding.
One of a series of bribery probes into major public works projects in Italy, the web of alleged bribery revealed in Venice has many of the same characteristics as Italy's 'Kickback City' scandal of 20 years ago that toppled an entire political class.
"There are even some of the same players," prosecutor Carlo Nordio, who was involved in the 1990s investigations, told a news conference. "This system, however, is much more sophisticated and much more difficult to discover."
The head of the consortium building the so-called Moses barriers was placed under house arrest last year in an earlier phase of the investigation. He, along with others, created a €25-million slush fund abroad that was used to bribe politicians, who then used the money for election campaigns as well as personal gain, Nordio said.
The illicit funding was at the city, regional and national levels, prosecutors said.
Over 30 implicated in major bribery ruse