VIPs arrested in Roma stadium corruption probe

Pallotta says confident project won't be held up

(ANSA) - Rome, June 13 - High profile figures from the worlds of politics and business were among nine people arrested on Wednesday over alleged corruption related to AS Roma's project to build a new stadium in the Italian capital, sources said.
    The Vice President of the Lazio Regional Assembly, Forza Italia (FI) member Adriano Palozzi, construction businessman Luca Parnasi and Luca Lanzalone, the president of water and energy utility ACEA, were among the people arrested by Carabinieri police, the sources said.
    A former regional councillor for the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) who is considered close to Lazio Governor Nicola Zingaretti, Michele Civita, was arrested too. Six of the suspects were taken to jail while three - Palozzi, Lanzalone and Civita - were put under house arrest, the sources said.
    Paolo Ferrara, the caucus head of Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi's 5-Star Movement (M5S) in the city assembly, is among 16 people under investigation as is Davide Bordoni, FI's leader in the council.
    Ferrara announced he was suspending himself from the anti-establishment M5S.
    The investigation regards alleged corruption linked to a revision of the initial project. The revision was okayed by Raggi's administration in February 2017 and saw the volume cut by half. Lanzalone was a consultant for the M5S in January and February 2017 and took part in the mediation with Eurnova, a company controlled by Parnasi that bought the land in the Tor di Valle area where the stadium is set to be built. "Those who have done wrong will pay, we are on the side of law and order," said Raggi.
    Interior Minister and League leader Matteo Salvini said he knows Parnasi personally and hopes he is proved innocent.
    Investigators said that "neither Raggi nor AS Roma" are implicated in the case. The probe risks holding up the stadium project, although Roma's American Chairman James Pallotta said he does not think it will, as the club has done nothing wrong.
    But he also stood by his pledge to sell up if the stadium project is scuppered or significantly held up.
    "Roma have done everything right," he said.
    "The stadium must go ahead. I don't see why it shouldn't.
    "If the project is halted, see you in Boston".
   

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