Proposed law toughens financial checks on local authorities

Fiorito arrest raises pressure to reform

Proposed law toughens financial checks on local authorities

(ANSA) - Rome, October 2 - A law under discussion Tuesday by the Italian government would toughen financial checks on regional and municipal authorities, as well as require balanced budgets after a series of corruption scandals across the country. The proposal comes in response to a string of scandals hitting regional governments all over the country. Late last week, the governors of Italy's regions submitted their own suggestions for cuts following the scandals, including lowering salaries for regional councilors, assessors and governors. They also proposed reducing the number of regional councilors and cutting spending for special groups and commissions. Pressure has mounted on the regions to impose stricter checks on corruption in politics since the center-right People of Freedom (PdL) party, headed by former premier Silvio Berlusconi, was hit by a scandal that led to the arrest Tuesday of Franco Fiorito. The disgraced former caucus leader of the party in the Lazio region around Rome was accused of embezzlement and taken to prison after judges found there was a risk he could re-offend or tamper with evidence. Investigators are said to be looking at more than 800,000 euros of financial transactions linked to Fiorito. Other scandals have reached the regions of Lombardy, Campania, Puglia and Sicily.

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