Rome

Fiorito denied release from Italian custody

Former caucus leader 'overflowing with criminal propensity'

Fiorito denied release from Italian custody

Rome, October 22 - Appeals court judges on Monday wrote a withering assessment on why a detained former caucus leader of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party in the Lazio region should be kept in jail, rejecting his lawyers' request for his release. Franco Fiorito faces charges for embezzling more than 1.3 million euros in State-subsidized party funds. The judges wrote he was "a personality with overflowing criminal propensity" who would "mock the prospect" of any custody arrangements other than prison. Only prison detention "would permit severing the countless contacts maintained by Fiorito both with accomplices and equally complacent subjects" the judges said. "He could interfere, as he already has, in the trial...or maintain the power structure he has already constituted". The disgraced ex-caucus leader was put into custody when a judge declared he was at risk of tampering with evidence, and prosecutors said they found traces of destroyed financial records at his home. Fiorito was arrested earlier this month after a scandal that had led to the resignation of governor Renata Polverini. Fiorito appealed last Wednesday to Italy's highest appeals court, the Court of Cassation, against the seizure of assets including a luxury villa at a resort south of Rome, a jeep and 11 current accounts, seven in Italy and four abroad. Police say he also spent his political party's money on pleasure trips to London, the French Riviera, Paris and the Amalfi Coast.

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