Rome mayor's confidant arrested in corruption probe

Ex-CEO of EUR SpA accused of taking 800,000-euro bus bribe

Rome mayor's confidant arrested in corruption probe

(updates previous). (ANSA) Rome, March 25 - Finance police in Rome on Monday arrested a right-hand man of Rome's mayor for allegedly accepting nearly a million euros in bribes from a state-controlled bus-maker for a contract to supply 45 buses to the City of Rome. Riccardo Mancini was placed under house arrest on charges of accepting 800,000 euros from BredaMenarinibus, a bus-making subsidiary of the troubled state-controlled defense giant Finmeccanica, to provide the electric trolley buses that would have serviced the unrealized "Laurentina corridor". Mancini is known for his close ties to Roman mayor and centre-right politician Gianni Alemanno, who belongs to Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party. Mancini is ex-CEO of Rome's city-controlled company EUR SpA - a company that runs a public development project in Rome - and served as Alemanno's treasurer during the 2008 mayoral election campaign. Mancini resigned from EUR SpA when news broke that he was a target of the corruption probe. The ex-CEO of BredaMenarinibus, Roberto Ceraudo, is also under investigation - investigators believe he may have handed over the bribes - as are at least five other people. Businessman Edoardo D'Inca Levis is being probed for allegedly setting up a slush fund to deliver the money. Also under investigation are Lorenzo Borgogni, ex-head of Finmeccanica external relations, Lorenzo Cola, an ex-external consultant for Finmeccanica, Marco Iannilli, Cola's accountant, and two BredaMenarinibus managers. The finance police and Carabinieri para-military police also conducted a series of searches on Monday to seize documents in the investigation. The Roman corruption probe means new trouble for Finmeccanica and the PdL, already under a hail of other high-profile corruption probes. Finmeccanica is at the centre of another corruption scandal that worsened already tense diplomatic relations with India and hit Italy's centre right over alleged bribes in the sale of helicopters to the Indian air force. The tangle of probes involving various senior PdL figures, including party-founder and ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi, have prompted the PdL to organize public protests accusing members of the Italian judiciary of political persecution.

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