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Cancellieri may be questioned in Ligresti scandal

Sources say justice minister's conversations may be probed

28 January, 18:24
Cancellieri may be questioned in Ligresti scandal (ANSA) - Rome, January 28 - Judicial sources said Tuesday that prosecutors may question Justice Minister Anna Maria Cancellieri about her telephone calls with the Ligresti family, a powerful business dynasty now involved a corruption case before the courts. Sources said prosecutors are not investigating the minister. Investigators have been pouring over statements from Antonino Ligresti, brother of family patriarch Salvatore Ligresti and a medical doctor who has been consulted often by Cancellieri over family medical issues.

In November, Cancellieri survived a no-confidence vote in parliament for alleged involvement in the corruption case involving family friends.

Earlier that month she admitted in parliament to calling authorities regarding Giulia Ligresti, a member of the dynasty headed by Salvatore Ligresti.

Salvatore and Giulia Ligresti, along with another daughter Jonella, were arrested in July 2013 for alleged involvement in cooking the books at the Fonsai insurance group. Cancellieri denied influencing Giulia's release from jail to house arrest, and insisted she only intervened to look after her health, as the woman had a history of depression and anorexia.

The minister subsequently said she had made similar "humanitarian" calls in 110 other cases. Prosecutors have said Cancellieri's interventions had no influence on Giulia Ligresti's release to house arrest, but the pressure on the minister increased after fresh reports of phone conversations with the Ligresti family, including Antonino Ligresti, emerged.

The minister said she regularly called Antonino about family medical problems.

But Cancellieri's critics have said it is a case of people with friends in high places receiving better treatment from the Italian justice system than ordinary people.

Meanwhile, Salvatore Ligresti was also released from house arrest in December and Jonella Ligresti downgraded to house arrested in November.