Former Premier Secretary, Relative of Another, Arrested as Scandals Grow
ROME (AP) _ Police arrested the personal secretary of one former premier and the brother-in-law of another Tuesday in connection with Italy’s vast corruption scandals.
Three former premiers are among the more than 2,600 political or business figures who have either been arrested or notified they were under investigation in the 14-month scandal.
So far, there have been no trials or indictments of the leading suspects. An official of Premier Giuliano Amato’s government demanded Tuesday that the trials begin soon.
The scandals have struck virtually all of Italy’s ruling class, with the Christian Democrats, Socialists and other parties hit by investigations of systematic kickbacks to politicians or their parties’ coffers in return for public contracts.
The Christian Democrats are the leading partner in the ruling coalition.
The revelations have caused Amato’s coalition to lose one-quarter of its ministers. The scandal also threatens to paralyze the government just as Italy struggles with a huge budget deficit, high unemployment, a bloated public bureaucracy and a sagging lira.
In Italy, there’s ″a great desire to turn the page,″ Amato’s deputy premier, fellow Socialist Fabio Fabbri, told a tourism convention in Rome. ″But how can you turn the page if corruption investigation news fills three-quarters of newspapers’ pages?″
The news of more people coming under investigation ″should give way to the ascertainment of the truth in trials,″ Fabbri said.
Rome magistrates Tuesday ordered the arrest of Gaetano Amendola, personal secretary of former Premier Arnaldo Forlani.
A day earlier, Forlani was notified that he is being probed for possible violation of party financing laws and corruption. Forlani, the Christian Democrat leader until last fall, denied any wrongdoing.
Also reported arrested Tuesday was Francesco Scarinzi, brother-in-law of Ciriaco De Mita, who, like Forlani, was a Christian Democrat premier in the late 1980s. Scarinzi, an official from the Naples region, was picked up in connection with kickbacks for construction after a 1980 earthquake.
De Mita is not a suspect in any investigation.
Former Premier Giulio Andreotti, a Christian Democrat, is being probed by Milan magistrates for suspected corruption and by Palermo investigators for possible links to the Mafia.
Former Premier Bettino Craxi, a Socialist, also is being probed in corruption scandals.
Four deputies from Turin were reported involved in probes, the Italian news agency ANSA said in a dispatch from that northern industrial city.
Italian news agencies also reported the arrests of Goffredo Giuliani, managing director of Snam SpA, the state gas company, and Carlo Fiore, a former managing director of engineering firm Saipem SpA.
Saipem and Snam are part of the state energy giant ENI. Italy’s huge state sector has long been considered the bailiwick of political parties. The two were arrested for suspected accounting irregularities, the reports said.