Orsoni quits as Venice mayor - update 2

Under pressure from PD

(ANSA) - Venice, June 13 - Giorgio Orsonio quit as Venice mayor Friday in the MOSE flood-barriers graft scandal under pressure from the Democratic Party (PD) that backed him. Orsoni plea-bargained a release from house arrest, accepting a four-month suspended jail term Thursday.
    Afterwards, he said nothing would force him to step down.
    He said there was "no objective reason" for him to resign.
    "I have nothing to reproach myself for," added Orsoni. Orsoni was being probed for illegal financing of political parties over his 2010 city election campaign.
    He said that he would return to his position at the helm of the city council and had no intention of retiring.
    "I have made many enemies and maybe this is the price I'm paying," Orsoni told a news conference.
    "I couldn't know that an illegal system was used (for the 2010 campaign)," he said, adding that he has assigned fund-raising to third parties.
    Orsoni was among 35 people arrested earlier this month over the MOSE probe, while around 100 others are under investigation.
    These include former Veneto governor and ex-minister Giancarlo Galan, currently a Senator for ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia (FI) party, and Altero Matteoli, a former centre-right environment and transport minister.
    Prosecutors are looking at allegations a corruption scam saw 25 million euros in taxpayers' money funnelled to political campaigns and away from MOSE, a 5.5-billion-euro system of retractable dikes set to be operable in 2016 after decades of delays.


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