Rome

Lazio councillor says he did not embezzle party funds

Draft passed in House for external audits

Lazio councillor says he did not embezzle party funds

(ANSA) - Rome, September 20 - Lazio regional councillor Franco Fiorito told investigators after seven hours of questioning Wednesday that he was not guilty of embezzlement of party funds, but would "pay" if he "made mistakes". Italian finance police raided the councillor's offices last week in search of evidence for probes into the local politician's handling of party finances. Fiorito is a former caucus leader from ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party. An obligation for Italian political parties to have external auditors certify their budgets was reinstated Wednesday into a new draft of House regulations on financial transparency Several parties, including the main centre-left Democratic Party and the centrist Catholic UDC, had said they would have their party budgets scrutinized by external auditors even if this was not obligatory. Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party did not.

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