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Salvini says regard for antigay general not hurt by probe

Salvini says regard for antigay general not hurt by probe

Esteem for Roberto Vannacci has actually increased says Leaguer

ROME, 24 February 2024, 13:09

ANSA English Desk

ANSACheck

- ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

-     ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
- ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Rightwing League party leader Matteo Salvini on Saturday said his high regard for "heroic" anti-gay general Roberto Vannacci was not in the slightest diminished by news of an investigation into a series of alleged financial irregularities committed when the general was military attache in Moscow a few years ago.
    Vannacci, who has become a hero to many on the right over a self-published best-selling book slamming gays, feminists, environmentalists, migrants and Jews, is under investigation for allegedly illegal army payments to relatives, unauthorised benefit spending linked to his duty car, reimbursements for organising allegedly non-existent events and dinners, and other alleged offences that may constitute the crimes of embezzlement and fraud during his time at the embassy in the Russian capital, the Corriere della Sera newspaper reported Saturday.
    "It is the usual clockwork probe," said Salvini.
    "Vannacci is a man who is loved by the citizens and awkward for the powers that be. Since they can't intimidate him in other ways, they try with investigations and threats.
    "Our high esteem towards him does not change, rather, it rises," said Salvini, who is deputy premier and transport minister in Giorgia Meloni's rightwing government.
    Vannacci, who was recently promoted despite his controversial book, 'The World Back To Front', but is still facing disciplinary action, has been spoken of as a possible League election candidate, and has indicated he is prepared to consider the offer.
    Former crack paratroop regiment chief Vannacci, 55, who was replaced by his direct superior after Defence Minister Guido Crosetto started disciplinary proceedings in mid-August, has been defended by many right-wing politicians who say his right to free speech is sanctioned by the Italian Constitution.
    In his book, 'The world back to front', Vannacci, formerly head of the Folgore paratroopers, says of homosexuals: "You are not normal, come to terms with it!", insisting that "normality is heterosexuality".
    "If everything seems normal to you, however, it is the fault of the plots of the international gay lobby," he adds.
    He also speaks strongly in favour of self defence: If a burglar enters a house, "why should I not be authorised to shoot him, to stab him with whatever object I can get my hands on?".
    "If I plunge the pencil I have in my breast pocket into the jugular of the mug that attacks me, killing him, why should I risk being condemned?" He was recently named army ground operation forces chief of staff after being sacked as head of the military geographical institute in August after the release of the book.
    The Italian army has denied this is a promotion.
   

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