Milan

Fresh probe brushes Lombardy regional govt

Catholic group's financial body heads probed

Fresh probe brushes Lombardy regional govt

(ANSA) - Milan, October 17 - A fresh probe has brushed the regional government in Lombardy after Governor Roberto Formigoni scrapped the executive when scandals peaked in alleged vote buying from the Calabrian 'Ndrangheta mafia by a regional councillor. The latest probe involves Compagnie delle Opere, the financial institute of influential Catholic lay organisation Comunione e Liberazione, one of Formigoni's staunchest backers. Tax police searched Compagnia delle Opere's offices in Bergamo near Milan and placed its chairman and deputy chairman under investigation for allegedly getting Formigoni's administration to favour a well-known Milanese businessman, Pierluca Locatelli, in connection with a new asbestos dump. Formigoni, a member of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party, has called for new elections soon. The PdL leadership is sending mixed signals about whether he should carry on, with some heavyweights saying regionalist Northern League leader Roberto Maroni, a former interior minister, should step in. The League has almost as many seats as the PdL in the regional assembly. One of its regional councillors is among 14 under investigation for various cases of alleged graft. Formigoni is himself being probed for corruption. Like the others, he denies all wrongdoing.

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