Rome, May 16 - An Italian judge and two police officers were among 34 people arrested on Thursday in relation to a nationwide operation to bust a big money-laundering ring. The judge is Franco Angelo Debernardi, who has been a magistrate at the Lazio Regional Administrative court for a number of years. The 34 are accused of involvement in a vast money-laundering racket featuring illegal exchanges of currency and shares and other illicit financial operations. Several lawyers and accountants were among the people arrested, 22 of whom are in jail, while the other 12 are under house arrest. One of them is Gianni Lapis, a well-known Palermo tax lawyer with links to the former mayor of the Sicilian city, the late Vito Ciancimino, who was convicted of several Mafia-related crimes. The money-laundering ring was busted thanks to the work of an undercover police officer. Investigators also seized 11.5 million euros worth of foreign currency (mostly United States dollars, South Korean won and Swiss francs) and 93 people have been cited to prosecutors.
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di Giovanni Pastore