Northern League vows to sue over milk-quota bribe reports

'We had nothing to do with the searches' says Maroni

Northern League vows to sue over milk-quota bribe reports

Milan, January 17 - The leader of the regionalist Northern League said Thursday it would sue for damages after reports its offices were searched in connection to a bribery probe into dairy farmers. "The League had nothing to do with the searches yesterday," said Roberto Maroni, calling any newspapers who said otherwise "rascals" and promising to sue for 10 million euros. "Money that we'll give to charity," he added in a Facebook message. Police said Wednesday they had searched League offices in Milan and Turin in connection to an investigation into a dairy co-op called La Lombarda that went bankrupt with 80 million euros in debt. Police suspect managers of the co-op were paying bribes to public officials and politicians who would intervene on their behalf to delay fines for exceeding European Union milk-production quotas. While some members of the League have been questioned and had their homes searched, prosecutors specified Thursday that no politicians or public officials were under investigation, and that the searches were directed toward a third party. The League, which has faced a slew of corruption charges in the last year, were instrumental in putting off milk-quota fines when the party was a key political ally to Silvio Berlusconi during his last term in office, which ended in November 2011.

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