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Cops in governor video 'plot'

Carabinieri 'planned to blackmail' Lazio official

23 October, 18:49

Piero Marrazzo

Piero Marrazzo

(ANSA) - Rome, October 22 - Four Carabinieri policemen were arrested in Rome Friday for allegedly planning to blackmail Lazio Governor Piero Marazzo with a video.

The four were apparently stopped before they could put their plan into action.

Governor Marazzo said the video was ''bogus'' and part of an alleged plan to smear him ahead of regional elections early next year.

''I was not aware of this plot. Now I demand the utmost respect,'' the official said.

''It is not true,'' he said when asked about the film. The four reportedly wanted the official to pay 80,000 euros ($120,000) for the video.

The contents were not disclosed but one source said it was ''intimate''. Carabinieri General Vittorio Tomasone described the four as ''bad apples who were isolated thanks to an internal investigation''.

According to Italian media, the four were already being investigated on other counts including drug trafficking.

The plot against Marazzo was said to have come to light thanks to wire taps initiated six months ago.

Marazzo, 51, a former TV journalist for state broadcasting corporation RAI, won the Lazio regional elections in 2005 for the centre-left Democratic Party. He is up for re-election in March.

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