Rome, February 14 - 5-Star Movement (M5S) premier candidate Luigi Di Maio said Wednesday that elected officials for the anti-establishment group have paid over 23 million euros into a government fund for microcredit to businesses. He was commenting amid a furore over allegations some M5S lawmakers had cheated over pledges to pay back part of their salaries. Di Maio has admitted that a handful of M5S lawmakers had not respected the internal M5S regulations on salary repayments, but stressed they are a small minority and has vowed to get rid of the "bad apples". "There are 23.468 million euros in the fund, today you can all see it," Di Maio said on his way out of the economy ministry, where he has asked for a statement on the M5S back payments. "We'll flaunt this figure everywhere over the next few days. "This case will be a boomerang for the parties who have stolen from the citizens for years. "There will be several Restitution Days during the election campaign". Di Maio admitted that it had been mistake to trust all the lawmakers for the anti-establishment group to respect a pledge to pay back part of their salaries. But he said he would remedy the situation and promised that a list of pledge-cheats would be shown "today". "I was wrong to trust the human being," Di Maio said. "But there is time to fix things. These people have been kicked out". The back-payment-pledge furore is embarrassing for the M5S, which prides itself on its "honesty".
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