'Scourge' of corruption in Lombardy region, says court

Audit court says bribery, extortion has grown worse in 20 years

'Scourge' of corruption in Lombardy region, says court

Milan, February 21 - The "scourge" of corruption in the Lombardy region is disconcerting and worse than it was 20 years ago, the regional public prosecutor of the Audit Court said Thursday. During 2012, prosecutors found a series of excessively corrupt acts by public administrators in the region, Antonio Caruso said in a statement as the court opened for its new judicial year. "The phenomenon of corruption is still alive in Italian government and has disturbing elements of growth," he said. Bribery and extortion are particular problems in this "scourge" of corruption, added Caruso. "The scourge of corruption is much more serious than it was 20 years ago, it has now nestled deep in the social fabric and constitutes an intolerable distortion of the system". As many as 62 regional councillors in the northern Lombardy region have been under investigation in various probes by prosecutors, most dealing with misuse of public funds. These investigations follow a series of corruption probes that led Governor Roberto Formigoni to dissolve his executive in October. Formigoni is suspected of wrongdoing related to health-sector contracts in one of those cases. He denies any wrongdoing.

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