• Former Senator Gasparri probed in graft investigation

Former Senator Gasparri probed in graft investigation

Senator denies diverting Senate funds to life insurance policy

(ANSA) - Rome, December 17 - Investigators in Rome said Tuesday they completed a graft probe into prominent a centre-right Italian Senator and former minister Maurizio Gasparri. Gasparri could face trial for allegedly diverting 600,000 euros in Senate funds to a life insurance policy for himself. Gasparri, Senate whip for Silvio Berlusconi's defunct centre-right People of Freedom Party (PdL) at the time of the alleged offense. Gasparri, communications minister from 2001 to 2005 and currently a member of Berlusconi's revived Forza Italia party, on Tuesday vigorously denied wrongdoing. ''I have not appropriated anything. I thought, however, that I had clarified to the relevant bodies in a timely manner regarding the management of funds for PdL's parliamentary group in the Senate,'' said Gasparri. ''The transaction in question was proposed to me by the bank that has always had its offices in the Senate and everything was done with great transparency and in the interest of the party,'' Gasparri continued. Gasparri declared that the legal proceedings caused him ''great distress and hardship, but I have a clear conscience because, as always, I operated with integrity''.