(ANSA) - Rome, July 26 - The disgraced Northern League leader's son, Renzo Bossi, said he has become a farmer after quitting his position as Lombardy regional councillor under a cloud of financial scandal this spring. "I am now a farmer," Bossi told journalists outside the church in Lazzate after attending a funeral. "On the other hand, one doesn't need an appointment to do politics. Politics is also done in bars," he quipped. Renzo Bossi's father is the former Northern League leader Umberto Bossi, who has been under investigation for alleged corruption since mid-May. The firebrand politician stepped down in April after his family was linked to probes into alleged fraud by former party treasurer Francesco Belsito. The elder Bossi, who in the 1980s spearheaded the movement that eventually became the Northern League, is being probed for fraud against the State for alleged involvement with Belsito in irregularities in documentation to obtain reimbursements for electoral spending. The younger Bossi, who was being groomed for a political career before the scandal exploded, and his brother Riccardo are also being probed for allegedly using party funds for personal use. A number of high-profile League members have resigned from their positions after it emerged that prosecutors in Milan, Naples and Reggio Calabria launched probes into the party's financing. The support levels of the party, which wants greater autonomy for wealthier northern regions and adopts far right positions on issues such as immigration, plummeted last May in the first round of local elections in some 1,000 Italian cities. Umberto Bossi said at the start of May that he would run for the League leadership again at the next party congress although he has since reportedly agreed to let former interior minister Roberto Maroni stand unopposed for the position.
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di Giovanni Pastore