Rome

Investigators say money management 'chaotic' in PdL party

Getting access to funds 'as easy as one phone call'

Investigators say money management 'chaotic' in PdL party

(ANSA) - Rome, September 20 - "Chaotic" money management allowed Lazio regional officials easy access to funds from Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party, investigators said Thursday. "With only one phone call" regional councillors could gain access to party funds, say investigators who spoke one day after Lazio Regional Councillor Franco Fiorito said he was not guilty of embezzlement of funds from the PdL, for which Fiorito is a former caucus leader. Fiorito told investigators after seven hours of questioning that although he was not guilty of embezzlement, he 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. 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. Berlusconi's PdL party did not.

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