BRUSSELS: Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said on Thursday he was “saddened” by the latest corruption scandal which has seen the mayor of Venice and a crop of politicians including a former government minister arrested or placed under investigation.
Prosecutors issued warrants on Wednesday against 35 people including the Venice Mayor Giorgio Orsoni, a close aide to former Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti, and the former governor of the Veneto region Giancarlo Galan over a 5 billion euro (4.06 billion pounds) flood barrier project to protect the canal city. Politicians are suspected of taking bribes and illicit party funding contributions to award contracts on the project in a scandal which broke less than a month after a similar corruption scandal linked to the Milan Expo 2015 project. “I feel deep sadness,” Renzi told reporters after a meeting with leaders of the Group of Seven world powers in Brussels.
“We will be acting in the coming hours and days on the issue of public works contracts, with the national anti-corruption authority and specific interventions,” he said.
However, he offered no details and suggested that existing legislation was adequate to tackle the issue. “The problem isn’t the rules, the problem is the thieves,” he said. “Let’s stop saying that people steal because there are no rules, there are thieves because people steal and people who steal need to be got rid of.”
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