Bologna

Regional governor may face trial for misuse of public funds

Errani denies any wrongdoing

Regional governor may face trial for misuse of public funds

(ANSA) - Bologna, July 26 - Public prosecutors are seeking a trial for Vasco Errani, the president of the Reggio-Emilia region, on charges he favored his brother in a business deal that made use of public funds. According to prosecutors, in 2005 Errani helped his brother, Giovanni, obtain one million euros in regional funds used to pay for the building of a new winery in the Terremerse cooperative, in the town of Imola. Errani stands accused of having concealed information in order to help the deal go through. The investigation into the loan began in 2009, after Italian daily newspaper Il Giornale suggested there may have been irregularities in the issuing of the funds. Vasco Errani - who stands accused along with two other regional government administration officials - was first interviewed by prosecutors one month ago, but the meeting went unreported. His brother was first investigated in the summer of 2010. Responding to the accusations Thursday, Errani said, "I will appear before the judge in full confidence and I will prove that I committed no crime. I am certain of what I did and do as president of the region and I never favored or acted against anyone". The prosecutors' actions unleashed comments from across Italy's political spectrum, including calls for his resignation. "If Vasco Errani is put on trial, he will have to resign," commented a local councilor of the Movimento 5 Stelle, an increasingly popular fringe movement founded by Italian comic Beppe Grillo which recently has been making electoral inroads, including winning the mayoralty of Parma in recent, national administrative elections. Errani's lawyer, meanwhile, accused local prosecutors of making a "serious mistake". In a statement, Alessandro Gamberini said, "The request of a trial for Vasco Errani in absence of elements that justify it arouses surprise and bewilderment".

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