Rome

Franco Fiorito to pay Lazio region 1.09 million euros

Ex-Lazio PdL leader granted fast-track trial

Franco Fiorito to pay Lazio region 1.09 million euros

Rome, April 18 - Disgraced centre-right politician Franco Fiorito will return 1.09 million euros to the Lazio regional government, his lawyer announced on Thursday. The former Lazio caucus leader of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party is suspected of embezzling 1.4 million euros in party funding. "Today we have defined with the Audit Court the full compensation which amounts to one million and ninety thousand euros," said Fiorito's defense attorney Carlo Taormina. The presiding judge at his preliminary hearing on Thursday approved Fiorito's request for a fast-track trial, which allows for sentence reductions in case of conviction. Fiorito and two ex-secretaries, Bruno Galassi and Pierluigi Boschi, were indicted for conspiracy at the hearing. The scandal sparked by the alleged misappropriation of funds by Fiorito and others led to the resignation of the PdL governor of Lazio, Renata Polverini, late last year. She was replaced in recent elections by Nicola Zingaretti of the centre-left Democratic Party. The court denied the defence's request to put Polverini on the stand as well as a previous ex-governor of Lazio, Francesco Storace, and Lazio Regional Council Speaker Mario Abbruzzese. The judge on Thursday did, however, grant the defense's request to have three Lazio regional officials testify on how the party compensation system worked. They are scheduled to be heard on Monday, April 22.

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