De Luca acquitted of embezzlement, still under house arrest

Newly elected ARS deputy

(ANSA) - Palermo, November 10 - Centre-right Sicilian regional deputy Cateno De Luca was acquitted Friday of charges of attempted embezzlement, abuse of office and fraud. The charges were linked to building contracts in the town of Fiumedinisi, where he was mayor. He was arrested in June 2011.
    De Luca said he would continue to "denounce this corruption".
    On Wednesday De Luca was put under house arrest in relation to a different case, of alleged tax evasion.
    De Luca, a member of the centrist UCD party, was among 70 regional councillors elected to the Sicilian regional assembly (ARS) in Sunday's election won by new centre-right Governor Nello Musumeci.
    Carmelo Satra, the president of small-business association FENAPI, was also put under house arrest in an operation conducted by Carabinieri and finance police to execute warrants issued by Messina prosecutors.
    Investigators suspect they were involved in a sophisticated system to avoid direct and indirect taxes via false invoices.
    The evasion alleged amounted to around 750,000 euros.
    De Luca said he was confident the probe would end in nothing.
    "I already knew that they would have arrested me... because in certain environments they had warned me!" he said on Facebook.
    "I say that this case will end like the other 14 - with an acquittal".
    Musumeci said that he will take great care in selecting his regional executive following the arrest.
    "Someone did not follow my reiterated calls for prudence in the composition of the (electoral) lists, but all the decisions that depend on me will be based on this... starting with the formation of the executive," he said.