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Italian center-right denounces 'clockwork justice'

Politicians accuse judges of electoral tampering

13 February, 19:02
Italian center-right denounces 'clockwork justice' (ANSA) - Milan, February 13 - Italian centre-right leaders fumed on Wednesday against "clockwork" probes hitting the electoral campaign after a series of high profile legal woes hit leading PdL figures and recent centre-right governance.

After Silvio Berlusconi's broadsides against "Jacobin judges", People of Freedom (PdL) party secretary Angelino Alfano accused judges on Wednesday of "critical conditioning of the electoral campaign". Alfano said Wednesday's conviction of Raffaele Fitto - a former cabinet minister in the government of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi - on fraud related charges in Bari, was a "sentence with an electoral imprint".

Alfano also called accusations against outgoing Lombardy Governor Roberto Formigoni "out of this world".

On Tuesday, Milan prosecutors closed an investigation into the Pavia-based Maugeri healthcare foundation that names outgoing Lombardy Governor Roberto Formigoni (PdL) among its suspects.

Formigoni, who denies wrongdoing, faces charges of criminal conspiracy related to health-sector contracts and allegedly pocketing eight million euros in gifts and benefits.

Formigoni also lashed out against the prosecutors on Tuesday for their timing, hinting that it was politically motivated.

"The timing of the prosecutors is, as always, very efficient. How far is one willing to go to cover the scandal at MPS, which risks crushing the left?" Formigoni asked, referring to a fraud probe currently underway at lender Monte dei Paschi di Siena, which is closely associated with Italy's left-wing establishment.

Even PdL ally Roberto Maroni, ex-interior minister under Berlusconi's last administration and member of the Northern League, spoke of "clockwork justice" on Wednesday. Maroni is running on the centre-right ticket for Lombardy governor in the February elections. Adding to the centre-right's legal woes, Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi - appointed under the centre-right's watch in 2011 - was arrested on Monday in a corruption probe of Italy's State-owned defense and aerospace giant.

Senate leader for the left's Democratic Party (PD), Anna Finocchiaro, reacted to the torrent of laments from centre-right politicians saying, "Enough with accusations against the judiciary".

Outgoing Italian Premier Mario Monti, who is campaigning in national parliamentary elections, said he was convinced that "news events can not influence the opinions of citizens".

Photo: Angelino Alfano
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