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Trial request for Piedmont governor Cota

37 councillors also implicated in spending probe

16 January, 13:31
Trial request for Piedmont governor Cota (ANSA) - Turin, January 16 - Prosecutors in Turin on Thursday requested Piedmont Governor Roberto Cota be indicted in connection with a probe into alleged misuse of public funds for political parties.

Prosecutors also requested that 37 regional councillors be sent to trial, with charges reportedly including embezzlement, fraud and illegal party funding.

Cota, a leading member of the right-wing regionalist Northern League who was elected Piedmont President in 2010, has always maintained his innocence.

"I can only say that I have always respected the law, (working) in the interest of the Piedmont region and of individual citizens," Cota said last November.

Cota's predecessor, Mercedes Bresso of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), views the situation differently.

"This is the ugliest page in the history of the regional institution, a region humiliated by a president who was elected illegally and who is now indicted for personal expenses made using public funds," she said.

Cota beat Bresso in the 2010 elections with 47.3% of the vote to her 46.9%, but last week regional administrative court of Piedmont annulled those results because of voting irregularities in Cota's favour.